Australian police hunt killer of giant crocodile

September 22, 2017
A 5.2-metre male crocodile was found in Queensland, Australia with a single gunshot wound to the head, sparking a hunt for the killer

A manhunt has begun for the killer of a giant saltwater crocodile in Australia, as authorities warned its death would trigger more aggressive behaviour among younger crocs in the area.

The carcass of a 5.2-metre (17-foot) adult male was found in the Fitzroy River in central Queensland on Thursday with a single gunshot wound to the head, the department said.

"It is illegal to 'take' and kill a crocodile without authority and police will work closely with (the environment department) to locate the person responsible," Queensland police said.

Under the state's conservation laws, the maximum penalty for the unlawful killing of a crocodile is Aus$28,383.75 (US$22,530).

The incident sparked warnings about heightened aggression among younger crocodiles in the wake of the giant predator's death.

"People need to clearly understand the of this animal has changed the balance of the crocodile population in the Fitzroy," the environment department's diversity operations director Michael Joyce told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"And we can expect increased aggressive activity by younger male . That's because they will be competing to take the dominant position which is now vacant." Joyce said.

"He is a crocodile that does spend a fair bit of time controlling the river and controlling the young animals that are in the river."

Joyce added that he didn't think the crocodile had posed a problem but rather, was "an important part of our ecosystem".

Saltwater crocodile numbers have exploded since they were declared a protected species in the 1970s, with recent attacks reigniting debate about controlling them.

The "salties", which can grow up to seven metres long and weigh more than a tonne, are a common feature of the vast continent's tropical north and kill an average of two people a year.

Explore further: Croc kills Australian man at dangerous river crossing

Related Stories

Debate about croc numbers reignited in Australia

November 3, 2016

Saltwater crocodile numbers have exploded in northern Australia since being declared a protected species, and a spate of recent attacks has reignited debate about controlling them.

Crocodile safaris urged after Australia attack

May 31, 2016

An outspoken Australian politician Tuesday called for crocodile-shooting safaris to help control their numbers in the wild, after a woman was taken by one of the feared reptiles while swimming.

Malaysia scientists tag Borneo saltwater crocodile

June 29, 2011

Wildlife researchers in Malaysia are to track a saltwater crocodile by satellite, they said Wednesday, in a bid to find out why nearly 40 people have been attacked on Borneo island over a decade.

Dog, nappy and football found in Aussie croc

May 16, 2012

Rangers who shot a saltwater crocodile that was terrorising pets in northern Australia found a dog, a pair of shorts, a football and a nappy in its stomach, according to a local report.

Recommended for you

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.