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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on December 08, 2000 at 20:40:29:
SUNDAY TIMES (Johannesburg, S Africa) 25 July 00 Man saves cornered croc from jaws of death (Thabo Mkhize)
A soft-spoken animal lover turned "Crocodile Dundee" when he saved a 1.8m crocodile from a mob that wanted to stone it to death.
Thulani Shandu, 25, from Dukuduku North, 25km from St Lucia on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, lassoed the reptile with a rope and tied it to a tree. It was removed by staff of the St Lucia Crocodile Centre, home to 200 Nile crocodiles.
Shandu was on his way to a relative's funeral when the shouts of children drew his attention to the crocodile.
Within minutes a crowd had gathered, calling for the animal to be killed. "I told them not to attack it and tried to catch it with a noose I had tied to a stick," said Shandu.
He said the crocodile was "jumping up and down" and biting the air as he tried to put the rope over its head.
"I managed to get the rope around its neck but it freed itself. I tried again and got the noose around its neck down to its front legs, and tied it to a tree. Another man came and tied a wire around the crocodile and attached it to the tree to ensure that it did not escape."
Shandu gained his knowledge of crocodiles from spending time at the Crocodile Centre, where his uncle works. "I knew I could outrun it if it became too violent," he said.
After tying the crocodile to the tree, he resumed his journey to the funeral.
His love for animals began when he was a young boy looking after cattle.
"It is in my nature and I know it is not the right thing to kill them. That is why I spared the crocodile's life," he said.
But his mother, Emelina Mgenge, 65, was not impressed with his heroics. "When my mother heard what had happened she was upset ," he said.
Before moving to Dukuduku, Shandu lived near the Nyalazi River, where Washeshe, a 4.5m crocodile weighing 800 kg, is said to have killed 10 people.
Mark Robertson, manager of the Crocodile Centre, described Washeshe as the most aggressive crocodile at the centre. He said it was brought in 10 years ago after it had ripped off a woman's breast and killed cattle and other livestock.