Israel faces crocodile conundrum with stranded reptiles

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Israel faces crocodile conundrum with stranded reptiles
In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, photo, crocodiles rest at a a farm in the Jordan Valley, West Bank. Hundreds of crocodiles are stuck at the farm where they were brought in the mid-90s to serve as a tourist attraction. Ensuing Palestinian-Israeli violence kept visitors away, prompting the crocodiles' purchase by an entrepreneur hoping to sell them for their skin, but his venture flopped after Israel passed a law in 2012 defining the crocodile as a protected animal, and banning raising the animals for sale as meat or merchandise. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)

PETZAEL, West Bank (AP) — An Israeli businessman appears to have bitten off more than he can chew with plans for a crocodile farm in a West Bank settlement.

Hundreds of crocodiles are stranded at the farm in a remote spot in the Jordan Valley — left behind by a pair of failed business ventures.

The crocodiles were brought to Petzael settlement in the mid-1990s as a tourist attraction. Ensuing Israeli-Palestinian violence kept visitors away, prompting the crocodiles’ purchase by an entrepreneur hoping to sell them for their skin.

But his venture flopped after Israel passed a law in 2012 defining the crocodile as a protected animal. Multiple attempts to sell them abroad have failed. Dozens have escaped, only to be found later.

Israel says it’s working to find a “practical solution” to the conundrum.