A suspected poacher is missing after authorities say he jumped into a crocodile-infested lake to avoid arrest

Crocodile danger warning sign
A 'DANGER CROCODILES' warning sign at Lake St Lucia in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa.Edwin Remsberg/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • A suspected poacher lept into a crocodile-filled lake in South Africa.

  • He jumped into the water to "avert" arrest following a shoot-out, authorities say.

  • The lake is home to approximately 1200 Nile crocodiles — the deadliest of crocodile species.

A suspected poacher is missing after leaping into a crocodile-filled lake at a South Africa nature reserve to "avert" potential arrest, authorities told Newsweek.

The unnamed man reportedly entered Lake St Lucia, an estuarine lake in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, on Friday, November 12, the media outlet said.

Lake St Lucia in South Africa
Lake St Lucia is an estuarine lake system within iSimangaliso Wetland Park.Google Maps

He was with a group of three other suspected poachers who moored their boat on the bank of the lake, which is home to deadly Nile crocodiles and hippopotami, on Friday morning, according to field rangers.

The field rangers ordered the suspects to surrender, but they were shot at, Newsweek said. The rangers then returned fire, the media outlet reported.

"The suspected poachers ran in different directions during the shoot-out," said a joint statement from iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the South African government organization responsible for maintaining wildlife conservation areas, per Newsweek.

"Field Rangers further observed blood in the water, which made them suspect that one poacher, probably the one with a gun, had been shot. He might have attempted to avert arrest by jumping into the water," the statement continued.

Crocodile bathes in the sun
A crocodile bathes in the sun by Lake St Lucia in South Africa.Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The head of corporate affairs at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Musa Mntambo, told Newsweek that the suspected poacher is still missing. "We know that the lake has crocodiles, so if he did not manage to get out during the gunfire, we are concerned about his safety," Mntambo said.

The three other suspected poachers are also still at large, Mntambo said.

Poaching for profit is a "very huge" problem in South African nature reserves, Mntambo told Newsweek.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife did not respond to Insider's requests for comment.

There are approximately 1200 Nile crocodiles in Lake St Lucia. They are an aggressive species of crocodile responsible for hundreds of deadly attacks each year.

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