A 2-year-old Cambodian girl died after unknowingly walking into a literal man-made den of horrors.
Parents of the deceased child, Rom Roath Neary, run a crocodile farm in the northwestern Cambodian town of Siem Reap. A crocodile farm is similar to a regular farm, except that instead of breeding pigs and chickens, they’re used to breed crocodiles — lots and lots of crocodiles.
Basically, imagine a closed-off enclosure with dozens upon dozens of large, hungry crocodiles.
Check out the short clip below to get an idea of what this would look like:
Now imagine a 2-year-old child waltzing into such an enclosure …
That, sadly, is exactly what happened to Neary.
“[T]he family had recently welcomed a newborn baby,” the Khmer Times reported Monday. “As the mother was busy taking care of the baby, she lost sight of her elder daughter. … When the father came home at 10am, he found his daughter’s skull in the crocodile enclosure.”
“When he came back home, he couldn’t find his daughter in the house,” local police Lt. Och Sophen said to the Times. “He found a skull in the crocodile enclosure. He confirmed that the daughter fell into the crocodile enclosure and that the crocodiles killed her, leaving only her skull.”
The following video footage obtained by the Daily Mail shows the father, retrieving his daughter’s skull from the crocodile enclosure. Be warned that it’s extremely graphic:
While it’s unclear just how many crocodiles were in the enclosure, crocodiles are among the most deadly animals in nature — more deadly than sharks, in fact.
“Numbers of fatal encounters with wildlife are extremely hard to tabulate, given that most places have inadequate reporting. But according to wildlife ecologist James Perran Ross of the University of Florida, officials estimate that crocs kill about 1,000 people per year— 100 times more than the 10 people sharks kill per year,” Business Insider reported in 2015.
What makes crocodiles so dangerous is that they “attack to kill and will pretty much eat anything,” including human children … and reporters.
It’s why, Sophen cautioned, that families that run crocodile files must be extra careful.
“His farm is located behind the house, and the small girl came to play around and fell in while her mother was busy taking care of another daughter, who had just been born,” he said of the family’s farm.
“We convey our condolences to the family. The mother hugged her daughter’s skull shocked. We appeal to all families who have crocodile farms to pay attention to all family members, especially small children.”
The family reportedly kept the alligator enclosure separated from their home via a fence — one that Neary reportedly managed to fit through.
A TWO-year-old girl was eaten alive after falling into a pit of crocodiles on her family farm, say police in Cambodia.
Rom Roath Neary’s mother is said to have lost sight of her while she was busy caring for her newborn baby. pic.twitter.com/xya0sUhBWW
— UkPlusMore ?? (@UkPlusMore_) July 2, 2019
Chan Leap, a 52-year-old crocodile farmer in nearby Banteay Meanchey province, has taken Sophen’s recommendation to heart.
“I raise the crocodiles and I feed them every day,” she said. “I do not allow any other family member to come see the farm or feed the crocodiles because I am afraid they will fall into the enclosure. Small children, especially, I do not allow them to see the crocodiles.”
Crocodiles are bred in Cambodia and elsewhere for their leather and meat. However, in what could be good news for children like Neary but bad news for her family, crocodile farming is on the decline in Cambodia because of competition from other nations.
“Lim Rithy, a member of the Crocodile Raising Association of Siem Reap, said crocodile breeding in the province is not currently good due to a shortage of orders from Vietnamese dealers. … Because Vietnamese and Thai technology is more advanced, crocodile feed there grows faster than in Cambodia,” the Eleven Media Group reported last month.
“Cambodia does not have a domestic market, we mainly rely on the Vietnamese market,” Rithy said at the time. “Vietnam is China’s main supplier of crocodiles, so when they get orders from China, they come to collect them from Cambodia.”
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, last year angry villagers in Indonesia reportedly wiped out an entire farm of crocodiles in revenge after one of their peers was killed.
Learn more below:
Indonesian villagers armed with knives, hammers and clubs slaughtered 292 crocodiles in revenge for the death of a man killed by a crocodile at a breeding farm,” The Daily Telegraph reported at the time.
According to reports, the farm had been granted a license to breed crocodiles only after promising to “not disturb the community.” But when the farm inadvertently disturbed the community via the local villager’s death, villagers sought revenge.
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