Australian police are looking for four vandals who set three crocodiles loose in a school Sunday in Darwin city in the country’s Northern Territory. The saltwater crocodiles were captured Sunday morning with the help of a ranger.
The vandals also ransacked the administration office in Taminmin College at Humpty Doo after letting the animals loose.
The police are not sure of where the animals came from but added that they were in poor condition. “The ranger that turned up was very concerned for them — they had their mouths taped up,” senior constable David Gregory reportedly said. “They haven’t seen water for a long time and are undernourished.”
The culprits could face serious penalties for animal cruelty including a fine of 77,000 Australian dollars (nearly $58,000) and a jail term of up to five years, Gregory added. Saltwater crocodiles are a protected species. The vandals let loose three female reptiles, the longest of which was two meters long.
“Basically skin and bones, not much meat left on them; they were really quiet and easy to catch,” ranger Luke McLaren reportedly said Monday. “Really poor skin condition, like they haven’t been kept in water for quite a while, haven’t been fed, and one of them looked to be blind [as a result of neglect].”
Gregory said that the reptiles may have to be put down due to their poor condition. They are currently under the care of rangers.