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Stray Crocodiles Are Threatening Residents of Saigon's Binh Chanh District

Being chased by a feral crocodile isn’t just a common adventure movie trope as many Saigoneers have encountered the reptilian predator right in the city.

In a recent report by Thanh Nien, a number of locals living in Pham Van Hai Commune of Binh Chanh District confirmed that they have spotted stray crocodiles in the neighborhood before; some even managed to catch the creatures. 

Dương Văn Thanh, a 41-year-old farmer, was one of those brave souls. On April 11, he was inspecting his plot of land when he heard a loud thud. He was shocked to discover a large crocodile lying next to the farm’s moat. “I was terrified, the two-meter crocodile was stalking my goats,” he told the newspaper.

The reptile went away, but Thanh was determined to capture it as he thought it was responsible for his missing ducks and chickens. With the help of some neighbors, he caught the crocodile, which weighed 89 kilograms.

Earlier, on April 8, Binh Chanh fisherman Lê Quang Tòng was fishing with two brothers when a crocodile surfaced and climbed onto the brother’s boat, forcing him to escape up a tree. Together they captured the 70-kilogram animal and brought it ashore.

According to local commune authorities, numerous croc encounters have been recorded in the vicinity over the past years. Officials, however, couldn’t confirm the origin of these sporadic crocodilians as there are a few crocodile farms in the district and nearby regions. Within the commune, one company currently houses over 3,000 crocodiles and a private household raises 73.

A few species of crocodilian are indigenous to Vietnam, including the common estuary crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and the critically endangered Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis). Some sources suggest that the latter is functionally extinct in the wild, though both are reared commercially in farms across the country. It is not clear which species the strays in Binh Chanh belong to.

[Photo: The crocodile that Dương Văn Thanh caught on April 11/Thanh Nien]