FAT ALBERT MISSING
Believed shot and buried
WHERE is Fat Albert?
That’s the million-dollar question at the back of everyone’s mind on the Daintree River.
For almost six weeks now the king croc of the Daintree has been missing and many tourist operators on the river say it is unlikely that he has relocated or ’wandered off’.
Solar Whisper Daintree Crocodile tour guide David White has not seen Fat Albert lurking around the river for almost eight weeks now and said that his disappearance is very suspicious.
“This is the breeding season and he is one of the top male crocs in the area so it is unusual for him to disappear.
“There are a lot of rumours going around that a farmer may have shot him but there is no proof at this stage, his disappearance is still being investigated,” he said.
It is also very unlikely that the King has passed away naturally as he is reported to be a very healthy, middle aged and territorial crocodile that is often spotted in the area by tours.
“He had owned a very large territory from the ferry all the way up to the Daintree Village which is almost 10km of the river,” Mr White said.
“It is possible for crocs to wonder off however it is unusual to see such a territorial male crocodile disappear during breeding season.”
Manger of the Crocodile Adventure Tours Bruce Belcher has been running the tours for almost 20 years and is convinced that Fat Albert is gone.
Mr Belcher said older male crocodile Scarface has taken over his territory.
“We have been told through the grapevine that he was shot and dragged out of the river by a tractor however there is still no proof. It is still under investigation,” he said.
Chris Dahlberg who drives the bird watching boats in the Daintree River is 99 per cent confident that he saw Fat Albert at 6.30am on Sunday morning.
“I saw him two days ago about 1km from the Daintree Village. It’s not that unusual for male crocodiles to go walkabout every now and then, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see him again until next summer,” he said.
“If crocodiles were creating massive problems for farmers they would have shot them long before crocodile tourism started,” he said.
A local guide from Mossman says that it is a shame to hear that Fat Albert may have met with foul play as Scarface has taken a liking to most of his females.
“It is unlike Fat Albert to leave his territory for such a long time and it is definitely a shame if someone has removed him from the river,” he said.
“Fat Albert is a beautiful and dominating creature who people love to come and see.”
Fat Albert’s long leave of absense is clearly concerning some locals.
“It’s not right to shoot a croc, obviously it would be up to the National Park to remove a crocodile if it was a threat to the community but they are a big part of our tourism up here and Fat Albert is one of our biggest crocs,” David White said.
Daintree Spirit’s owner Gordon Lamb said that it is a disgrace to hear that Fat Albert may have been shot.
“I think it is a disgrace if someone has shot him, it is going back to a third world country status,” he said.
“The crocs were in the river long before we were so I think that people need to learn how to live with them. If farmers are worried about their cattle being taken by crocs they should install a fence,” he said.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers have investigated his disappearance.
The investigation was unable to find any evidence to substantiate the claim.
The deliberate killing of a crocodile is an offence the Nature Conservation Act and is punished by a fine up to $22,500.
Anyone who has any information or evidence should contact Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service on 1300 130 372.