An old story in Cambodia, the moral of which is mirrored in cultures around the world, tells of a monk who befriends a crocodile. The crocodile allows the monk to ride across a local river on his back to make his begging rounds easier, until one day, the crocodile ends up eating the monk. (( This is one of my favorite stories in fact, and is a lot more complicated than presented in this brief description. The crocodile, usually named “Great Novice” in the story (which is in turn a reference to the attempt in Pali literature of Nagas to become monks, which is forbidden by the monastic discipline), eats the monk accidentally, in an attempt to protect him against another evil crocodile )). One of the morals is certainly, ‘well, what did you expect? You shouldn’t trust a crocodile whose nature is to kill and eat other animals.’
And now the farmers, who have been making short term money hand over fist in Siem Reap (it’s been difficult to find a guesthouse which didn’t border on at least one, usually two or three, overfull crocodile ponds, in the last few years), are learning that lesson again. The market has decided enough crocodiles already, and while prices drop, the farmers are looking for other options.
Now, the big question is, what are they going to do with all those leftover crocs?