Giant Saltwater Crocodile Trapped in Australia
Down Under, a giant crocodile was trapped in an upstream region popular with tourists that is thought relatively safe from the killer predators.
Tuesday, wildlife rangers said that the saltwater crocodile measured 4.7 meters (15 ft), the largest they had ever caught in the northern Australian Katherine River.
Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife said it had trapped the 600-kilogram (1,300-pound) reptile on Monday more than 300 kilometers (185 miles) from the ocean and only 30 kilometers (19 miles) downstream from Katherine Gorge, a major tourist attraction outside the Northern Territory town of Katherine.
Tourists swim, canoe and take cruises in the gorge among freshwater crocodiles, a different species that are small, timid and rarely harm humans. Mid-year is the peak tourist season.
Ranger John Burke said authorities had been hunting the large crocodile in the area for at least 10 years.
“On record, this is the biggest saltwater crocodile removed from the Katherine management zone,” he added, referring to the part of the river where saltwater Crocs, a protected species, are trapped because they are too close to human populations.
While large Crocs are territorial, Ranger Webb suspected the trapped Croc had moved to and from the area where it was caught during the past 10 years. Satellite tracking had shown one Croc tagged in a Northern Territory waterhole had swum 900 kilometers (560 miles), for unknown reasons, before returning to the same place.
“That sort of Croc, in my opinion, is the most dangerous to people,” Ranger Webb said. “In areas where they are at best low densities, someone won’t have seen one for a long, long time and they think they’re safe and they’re not necessarily safe.”
He said the capture so close to tourists demonstrated that the government protection program worked.
“It’s worrying, but it’s good that they’ve got an active program and they’ve got active traps,” he said.
The Croc has been trucked to a crocodile farm outside Kathrine where it is likely to become a tourist attraction.
Crocodiles are farmed for their meat and hides, but large and battle-scarred Crocs are usually unsuitable for the luxury handbag market.
Since crocodiles became a protected species, crocodile numbers in the Northern Territory have exploded from 3,000 to an estimated 80,000 to 100,000.
Because saltwater crocodiles can live up 70 ani and grow throughout their lives, reaching up to 7 meters (23 feet), the proportion of large crocodiles is also rising.
Be careful out there mates.
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