New warning issued in wake of viral crocodile video

 

Wildlife officers have issued a warning reminding Australians that feeding crocodiles is illegal after a video of a saltwater crocodile devouring sharks went viral over the weekend.

A statement released by the Department of Environment and Science (DES) said several people had reported seeing the 4.5m estuarine crocodile in Cardwell, in Far North Queensland, to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) wildlife hotline following the release of footage of the animal eating two small sharks.

A still from the video taken by a couple in Cardwell in Far North Queensland. A large saltwater crocodile snagged two sharks the anglers had caught. Picture: Yvonne Palmer
A still from the video taken by a couple in Cardwell in Far North Queensland. A large saltwater crocodile snagged two sharks the anglers had caught. Picture: Yvonne Palmer

"The vision shows the animal moving through the ocean towards the shore before eating two small sharks that had been left at the water's edge by a fisher at a beach in far north Queensland," the statement said.

"This comes off of the back of a report that a member of the public allegedly fed a crocodile near the rail bridge over Salt Water Creek, Miallo."

That 3.5m estuarine crocodile was removed from Miallo, north of Mossman, in December.

The Cardwell video has once again prompted wildlife officers to remind the public of the DES's Crocwise message, especially the danger associated with feeding crocodiles and leaving food scraps lying around.

"Feeding a crocodile is illegal, dangerous, and teaches crocodiles to associate humans with food," the statement said.

 

 

The 4.5m crocodile swam up to the beach and devoured two small sharks the anglers had just caught. Picture: Yvonne Palmer
The 4.5m crocodile swam up to the beach and devoured two small sharks the anglers had just caught. Picture: Yvonne Palmer

In the Cardwell footage - filmed about 7.30am Sunday - a shocked Yvonne Palmer can be heard saying she had just caught a shark and dragged it onto the beach, but now she could not retrieve it as she spotted the saltie coming.

"I just caught a shark, which I couldn't get back into the water because this fella was coming, and now he's going to come in and eat it and I am going to sh*t myself," she says in the video.

"Oh my lord, he's like one, two, three … I can see like four metres and he's still got tail in the water."

The croc then walked out of the water a short way to a second shark on the sand, which it also consumed before returning to the ocean.

There is no suggestion that Ms Palmer, of Tully, was fishing illegally or doing anything wrong.

 

A still from a video showing the estuarine crocodile eating the first shark, with the second one on the beach in front of it. Picture: Yvonne Palmer
A still from a video showing the estuarine crocodile eating the first shark, with the second one on the beach in front of it. Picture: Yvonne Palmer

Senior Wildlife Officer with DES, Brad Cooper, said the behaviour of the saltie scavenging the sharks was normal.

"You may have seen a video showing a couple of persons fishing on the Cardwell foreshore who unfortunately had their catch eaten by a large estuarine crocodile," he said.

"The crocodile's behaviour we see in this video is completely normal.

"Estuarine crocodiles are opportunist predators and are quite happy scavenging for food on the foreshore like we saw on the video, or hunting large animals like pigs or kangaroos in our creeks, rivers and estuaries."

Mr Cooper encouraged people to report crocodile sightings to the new, free QWildlife app and to be responsible when near water, especially when fishing.

He said to never throw scraps or leftover items in the water and to take them with you to put in a bin.

 

 

It is not known if the large shark-eating crocodile is the same 4.5m one also spotted in Cardwell in January. Denise Stewart caught Bismark chomping down on a green sea turtle near the jetty last month. Picture: Denise Stewart
It is not known if the large shark-eating crocodile is the same 4.5m one also spotted in Cardwell in January. Denise Stewart caught Bismark chomping down on a green sea turtle near the jetty last month. Picture: Denise Stewart

The DES statement said members of the public were encouraged to report crocodile sightings as soon as possible, by ringing 1300 130 372.

"The regular feeding of crocodiles, even if it is different people leaving fish scraps at a fishing spot or boat ramp over time, can affect their behaviour and encourage the animals to hang around the area, waiting for their next meal," it said.

"This can place future visitors at increased risk."

Cardwell, in-between Cairns and Townsville, falls under the General Management Zone under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan.

"This means that crocodiles displaying dangerous behaviour are targeted for removal. This crocodile has not demonstrated dangerous behaviour towards humans," according to the DES statement.

 


Be Crocwise:

 

■ Expect crocodiles in all far northern Queensland waterways even if there are no warning signs

■ Obey all warning signs - they are there to keep you safe

■ Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night

■ Stay well away from croc traps - that includes fishing and boating

■ The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks

■ Stand back from the water's edge when fishing and don't wade in to retrieve a lure
■ Camp at least 50m from the edge of the water
■ Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near water, camp site or boat ramp
■ Never provoke, harass or feed crocs
■ Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead
■ Report all crocodiles sightings to DES via the QWildlife app or by ringing 1300 130 372

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as New warning issued in wake of viral crocodile video



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