One Fatality and Another Person Badly Wounded in Separate Crocodile Attacks
The Estuarine crocodile that fatally attacked a spear fisherman in the far north of Queensland (Australia) has been caught and killed according to local officials. Warren Hughes (35), was attacked at Palmer Point, near Innisfail, south of Cairns last Saturday. His empty dinghy and spearfishing tackle was found on Saturday evening, but his body was not discovered until the following Monday.
In a statement released by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), the four-metre long reptile was captured on the evening of the 21st March (Tuesday), at the mouth of the Russell River, not far from the scene of the attack.
Saltwater Crocodiles are the World’s Largest Living Reptile
Environment Minister Steven Miles commented that the wildlife officers were confident this crocodile was the animal responsible due to its size and the fact that it was found in close proximity to where the attack took place.
The minister added:
“I want to thank our incredible team of wildlife officers who do a difficult, and in cases like this, a very dangerous job. This area is well within crocodile country and it is important that residents and visitors continue to exercise “CrocWise” behaviour at all times.”
“CrocWise” is a Northern Territory Government campaign to educate people about crocodiles and reduce the risk of attacks. As the Saltwater (Estuarine) crocodile population has grown over the last fifty years or so, there has been an increase in crocodile attacks on swimmers and fisherman. With Australian urban centres expanding further into, what was once wilderness, so there is an ever-increasing threat from encounters with these apex, highly dangerous predators.
Sadly, many people still don’t understand the threat that these crocodiles, some of which can grow to over six metres long, can pose. On Saturday 18th March, a teenager, Lee de Paauw was badly mauled by a three to four-metre-long crocodile after jumping into a river, known to have a resident population of crocodiles, north of Queensland. It seems the 18-year-old embarked on his foolish dip after being dared to do it by his friends. Luckily, the young man managed to escape the attentions of the predator, however, he received severe injuries to his left arm.
This morning, (24th March), wildlife rangers trapped a large crocodile very close to where Lee was mauled. The animal is being kept at a holding facility until it can be properly located. The Australian Government has a capture and release programme in place to deal with dangerous crocodiles. It is hoped that this particular crocodile will be relocated to an Australian zoo.
The Crocodile Suspected of the Attack on Lee de Paauw
Picture Credit: Drew Creighton