Salt wa­ter crocodile killed

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

IN­VES­TI­GA­TIONS are con­tin­u­ing into the death of a four-me­tre es­tu­ar­ine salt wa­ter crocodile.

The croc was found dead, teth­ered to the man­groves in Repulse Creek by lo­cal res­i­dent Mark Nor­man who was fish­ing there on Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 16.

Mr Nor­man, who works as a tour guide for Proser­pine’s Whit­sun­day Crocodile Sa­faris, in­spected the crea­ture and found a piece of rope ex­tend­ing from its mouth.

He said the rope seemed to be tied off to the trees and was ir­re­triev­able, given the height of the tide. In Mr Nor­man’s opin­ion, “this was ob­vi­ously an il­le­gal killing”.

“People some­times think they have the right to con­trol what’s around them but croc­o­diles are highly pro­tected by law,” he said.

“Croc­o­diles are part of our en­vi­ron­ment here and in a re­mote area like that it seems un­fair for a crocodile to be tar­geted like this.”

Mr Nor­man re­ported his find­ings to the Whit­sun­day Wa­ter Po­lice who no­ti­fied the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion (EHP).

An EHP spokesper­son con­firmed rangers were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent. The spokesper­son said foren­sic ev­i­dence was gath­ered last week and in­di­cated that the an­i­mal was not hook baited.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tions are con­tin­u­ing as to how the an­i­mal be­came at­tached to a rope.”

The spokesper­son said il­le­gally tak­ing a pro­tected an­i­mal was an of­fence un­der the Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion Act, with penal­ties rang­ing from fines of $11,000 to $330,000 or two years’ jail.

UN­DER IN­VES­TI­GA­TION: A four-me­tre-long es­tu­ar­ine crocodile was found dead in Repulse Creek. The crocodile was teth­ered to the man­groves and in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the man­ner of its death are now un­der­way.

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