Dozens of baby crocodiles have been stolen from a wildlife park in Darwin, Australia.
Grahame Webb, owner of Crocodylus Park, estimates that the sixty hatchlings are worth several hundred dollars each.
Speaking to ABC news about the crime, he said: ”The scientist in me would like to know, who is doing what?”
He said that at first, park staff assumed that the little crocs had escaped but a thorough search had ruled that possibility out.
The crocodiles were being kept as part of a research project looking at how the environment affects the reptiles’ development.
“It was a neat little stage,” said Professor Webb, “very well controlled and the only thing missing was we didn’t factor in the possibility some a***hole would come in and steal a bunch of the crocodiles.”
The Professor said he thinks this most recent theft was executed over several visits during a two week period.
He said that it’s not the first time that people have broken into the facility to steal crocodiles. “We’ve caught kids a number of times coming over with backpacks and getting some crocs somehow and then going back over the fence,” said Professor Webb,
“I don’t know who they’re selling them to.”
Northern Territory Police said in a statement that they had investigated the theft but no arrests or charges have been made.
They added that there was no information to suggest the stolen animals were part of a bigger operation.
Professor Webb said he didn’t know how to prevent further thefts: “Are we supposed to put razor wire around everything, spend hundreds of thousands on CCTV or employ someone to sit there 24 hours a day?”
As its name suggests, Crocodylus Park specialises in the conservation of saltwater and freshwater crocodiles and features a comprehensive crocodile museum.
The facility, in Berrimah, Northern Territory, also houses other animals such as big cats, monkeys, birds, turtles and snakes