300 crocodiles slaughtered by a mob are burned by officials in Indonesia after the animals were killed to avenge villager eaten by a reptile

  • A factory worker died after being bitten by a crocodile in Sorong, West Papua
  • After his funeral, an armed mob bludgeoned to death 292 protected reptiles
  • Police weren’t able to stop the 600-strong crowd from killing the reptiles
  • Now, officials have burned and buried the dead crocodiles around the farm area 

Indonesian authorities have burned the carcasses of nearly 300 crocodiles slaughtered by villagers retaliating for the death of a man attacked by a reptile from a breeding farm.

After the victim’s burial, an angry mob armed with knives, hammers and clubs burst into the farm area and bludgeoned to death 292 of the protected reptiles in the eastern province of West Papua.

‘The dead crocodiles have been burned and buried around the farming area,’ Basar Manullang, a West Papua conservation official, said on Tuesday.

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Indonesian authorities burned the carcasses of nearly 300 crocodiles slaughtered by villagers

The reptiles were slaughtered by villagers retaliating for the death of a man attacked by a reptile from a breeding farm

Photos showed the crocodiles had been placed in a large pit in the ground, along with wood for kindling, and set alight.

After villagers slaughtered the crocodiles, photos showed the bloodied carcasses in a large pile.

Sugito, the 48-year-old victim, had entered the crocodile farm in the Sorong district and was thought to be picking grass for animal feed when he was attacked on Saturday.

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His screams alerted a local resident who ‘heard him shouting for help but [he] was found dead,’ another local named Olga told The Jakarta Post.

After local villagers attended his funeral on Saturday, around 600 armed themselves with sharp implements and descended upon a crocodile farm, owned by Albert Siahaan, to avenge his death.

The dead crocodiles have been burned and buried around the farming area, an official said

Photos showed the crocodiles had been placed in a large pit in the ground, along with wood for kindling, and set alight

After 600-strong mob of villagers slaughtered the crocodiles in Sorong, West Papua

The mob slaughtered hundreds of crocodiles after a 48-year-old man was killed by crocodiles after entering the area around the breeding pond

The bloody attack resulted in 292 baby and larger crocodiles, up to two metres in length, hauled from their water-filled enclosures and hacked to death with hoes, picks and other sharp tools.

‘The residents used knives to slaughter the crocodiles,’ Olga said.

She added: ‘The crocodiles were caught and dragged outside and stabbed to death. It was so horrid to see.’

It was unclear whether the crocodile which bit Sugito was among those slaughtered.

Up to 40 police officers tried to stop the slaughter, but were outnumbered by the angry mob.

Local residents look at the carcasses of hundreds of crocodiles from a breeding farm after they were killed by angry locals

Angry villagers break into the crocodile farm and drag captive reptiles from enclosures

Police had been unable to repel the attack on the breeding farm by the angry villagers, Sorong police chief Dewa Made Sidan Sutrahna said.

Witnesses will be questioned to determine if the breeding farm had been negligent and any laws broken in killing protected crocodiles, he added.

‘We couldn’t do anything. The situation was so tense,’ he said, according to ABC News.

While no arrests were made, the farm’s owner and four other people were questioned by police, with officers suggesting that a security guard might have a negligence charge brought against him.

Manullang said 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.

‘The crocodile slaughter violated the law on destroying others’ property,’ he said earlier.

Some of the crocodiles hauled out from the farm were up to two metres in length

Crocodile after crocodile had its mouth tied shut with rope, as villagers sought revenge

They were attacked with sharp implements including hoes, machetes and knives

Police officers tried to intervene, to stop the crocodiles from being slaughtered, but with up to just 40 attending the scene they were too few in number, against the 600-strong crowd

He said the crocodile farm was lawfully run, as it had an official permit issued by the Environment and Forestry Ministry.

‘The permit is legal and the process [to obtain it] in Jakarta took a long [time]. There were steps and requirements to meet and it was under the authority of the local government.

‘The crocodile slaughter is obviously against the law.’

The eastern area of Papua has a special dispensation that allows some of the crocodiles to be exploited for skin, spawning a retail industry in items from belts to bags and shoes made from the skin of the reptiles.

The reptiles were held down and killed by villagers in Sorong, West Papua

Cruel: a baby crocodile is shown above, being killed during the mass cull

This photo shows a man using a machete to kill a crocodile, which is among other dead crocodiles slaughtered by a mob in Sorong in Indonesia’s Papua province

Basar Manullang, of West Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency, criticised the cruel revenge, saying: ‘The crocodile slaughter violated the law on destroying others’ property’

Muhammad Nur, who owns the Crocodile Craft Centre based in the Papuan port of Merauke, said the conservation agency only allowed medium-sized crocodiles to be used.

‘Big crocodiles are for breeding and small crocodiles are still babies,’ he said, adding that his business used skins from saltwater crocodiles.

An animal welfare group urged that those responsible be held accountable for the killing of the crocodiles.

‘The government needs to show its firmness in handling animal rights,’ said Ode Kalashnikov of International Animal Rescue in Indonesia.

While keeping crocodiles on a farm was not ideal, releasing them into the wild meant they risked being killed by poachers, he said, pointing to recent reports of an elephant being poisoned and an orangutan shot in Indonesia. 

Two men stand among the corpses of about 300 crocodiles, which were slaughtered after a crocodile bit a local resident, killing him

The reptiles’ bodies piling up outside of the farm owned by a resident of Sorong, Albert Siahaan

Close to 300 captive baby and large crocodiles were killed in the bloody attack in West Papua, Indonesia, on Saturday

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