WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: A mob, armed with knives, shovels and hammers, has slaughtered nearly 300 crocodiles in retaliation for a man’s death.
A total of 292 crocodiles were killed by hundreds of villagers from Indonesia’s West Papua province after a 48-year-old man was killed after entering the area around a crocodile breeding pond, according to the head of the local Natural Resources and Conservation Agency Basar Manullang said.
The man was believed to have entered the sanctuary in the Klamalu neighbourhood of Sorong district to cut grass for his cattle on Friday.
Mr Manullang told Reuters, an employee at the sanctuary heard someone screaming for help before he witnessed a crocodile attacking someone.
He added that after the funeral of the 48-year-old, villagers armed themselves with knives, shovels and hammers and began killing the crocs.
The farm had been given a licence to breed protected saltwater and New Guinea crocodiles in 2013 for preservation and also to harvest some of the animals.
But one of the conditions was that the reptiles did not disturb the community, Mr Manullang said.
Those responsible for the killing now face prosecution.
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“Since killing the crocodiles is illegal, we are coordinating with the police for the investigation,” Mr Manullang said on Monday.
“Crocodiles are God’s creatures that need to be protected too.”
The villagers killed two large crocodiles of up to four metres and many babies measuring 50-150 centimetres
Witnesses said about 40 policemen came to the scene but were too outnumbered to stop the mob.
About five witnesses have been questioned but no suspects have been named, police said.
Police are encouraging mediation between the victim’s family and Mitra Lestari Abadi, the company that operates the sanctuary.
With The Evening Standard and Associated Press