Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - Keep a look out for crocodiles: 15,000 have escaped a farm in Africa - 25 January

Thousands of crocodiles have made an intrepid break for freedom, after heavy rains in South Africa forced a tourist attraction to open its gates.


Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 25 January

Keep a look out for crocodiles: 15,000 have escaped a farm in Africa


By Adi Bloom

Thousands of crocodiles have made an intrepid break for freedom, after heavy rains in South Africa forced a tourist attraction to open its gates.

Around 15,000 crocodiles escaped from the Rakwena Crocodile Farm, in the north of the country, when the owners were forced to open the gates to prevent flooding. Johan Boshoff, the farm’s owner, was concerned that the nearby Limpopo river had risen to dangerous levels, and posed a threat to the walls of his house.

The leathery fugitives have since been scaling terrain around the border with Botswana. Although Mr Boshoff says that a few thousand have been recaptured, more than half are still at large.

The process of crocodile retrieval has been slow, with their owners responding to calls from local farmers who spot the animals on their property. One turned up on a school rugby pitch, 75 miles from the Rakwena farm.

Most of the recapturing is taking place at night, because crocodiles’ eyes glow red when reflecting light, making the creatures – which grow to around four or five metres and weigh up to 750kg – easier to spot.

Most of the crocodiles, however, have escaped into the dense bush around the Limpopo river. “There used to be only a few crocodiles in the Limpopo river,” said Zane Langman, Mr Boshoff’s son-in-law. “Now there are a lot.”

Floods in the region have already killed 10 people, including three children who died when their homes collapsed during heavy rain. Hundreds have been left homeless, as homes in the area have been evacuated. Flooding has also affected Kruger national park and neighbouring Mozambique, where tens of thousands of homes have been evacuated.



Questions


  • If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
  • What do you imagine your daily life would be like if you lived in South Africa?
  • What other animals would be dangerous to encounter?
  • How might the ecosystems of the area be affected by the release of so many crocodiles?

Related resources


The Enormous Crocodile

  • A topical weekly plan, resources and PowerPoints all linked to The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl.

Safari

  • A PowerPoint presentation to introduce Africa and its animals to SEN pupils in Key Stage 1.

Africa

  • Take your class through the many wonders of Africa, its people, places and vibrant cultures, with these lesson plans.

Flooding

  • Examine the causes of flooding with these varied lessons plans and activities.


Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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In the news archive index