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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK
Namibia's 'Crocodile Dundee' recaptured
Recaptured crocodile (courtesy of The Namibian)
Dundee's survival had not been expected by his owner
Namibia is renowned for its elephants and rhinos that can survive in the desert, now it has a desert crocodile.

A two-and-a-half metre Nile crocodile which went missing last week while being transported to Windhoek has been found in good health and returned to captivity.

He was discovered by a retired conservationist, Piet Mostert, by the side of a main road on 28 September.


I told her it looked like a crocodile and turned to go back. She told me I was crazy.

Piet Mostert

The crocodile, nicknamed Dundee after the popular film Crocodile Dundee, escaped a week ago from the back of a truck in which it was being taken to the Windhoek Showgrounds Snake Park from Cape Town's Ratanga Junction.

The seven year old reptile made its bid for freedom in the Namibian desert.

The crocodile had been checked at the South Africa-Namibia border and was "snug and cosy", according to Michael Jonsson of the Cape Town Snake Park.

But 300 km later, when the truck stopped to refuel, the crocodile had slipped away, the French agency AFP reports.

Experts said that crocodile was unlikely to survive more than a day in the desert, as the carnivorous reptile would normally inhabit areas by rivers, streams or lakes.

The Namibian desert is hot and arid with little standing water which a crocodile needs to survive.

My wife said I was crazy

Peter Mostert thought he had lost his marbles when he spotted the crocodile by the side of a major road in the desert, the Namibian newspaper reported.

He said that he saw what he thought was a ripped tyre by the road but looked again and told his wife he thought it was a crocodile.

Namibian desert
Not 'home, sweet home' for a crocodile

"I told her it looked like a crocodile and turned to go back. She told me I was crazy.

"And sure enough there it was," Mr Mostert said.

With the help of a local farmer, he recaptured the crocodile and its owner was able to take it to Windhoek's Snake Park.

Mr Mostert received a reward of $95 (1,000 Namibian dollars).

He said it was the strangest thing that had ever happened to him.

The crocodile's owner, Bryan Vorster, was amazed that Dundee had survived.

"I had no doubt in my mind that Dundee would not survive. The heat and lack of water and food would have killed him, but he miraculously survived," Mr Vorster said.

Crocodiles can survive long periods without food but rarely last long without water.

The huge reptile is still recovering from its ordeal and can be seen resting under a thorn bush in the Snake Park at the Windhoek Show, the Namibian concluded.

See also:

30 Sep 02 | Africa
19 Sep 02 | South Asia
17 Sep 02 | Africa
05 Jul 02 | Country profiles
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