Lifestyle

VIDEO: Croc handler 'expected to make full recovery'

UPDATE 4.15pm: 

It has been reported that Renee Robertson is expected to make a full recovery after a crocodile bit her arm at Townsville's Billabong Sanctuary.   Billabong Sanctuary owner Bob Flemming told the Courier Mail she was expected to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery.   "There was no nerve damage, so that was the best news we could have had," he said.   "We're very, very fortunate that she's going to fully recover."   
    A Townsville Hospital spokeswoman said Renee, formerly from Rockhampton, was in a stable condition on Tuesday morning.   The attack will be investigated by the sanctuary, as well as Workplace Health and Safety officers.   Renee was acting as a "spotter'' during the 3.15pm feeding show and was half way through her six-month training.  

 

UPDATE 12.08pm

"It's very sad but this is the time of the year (crocodile) handlers should expect unpredictable behaviour."

After viewing footage of former Rocky girl Renee Robertson being bitten by a female crocodile in Townsville, Koorana Crocodile Farm owner John Lever said female crocs are nesting and full of hormones which makes them even more dangerous.   

What we know

  • Former TCC student Renee Robertson was part of a crocodile feeding show at Billabong Sanctuary, Townsville
  • "Tipper", a 2.5m female crocodile lunged and attacked her
  • She has suffered injuries to her arm, the extent of them is unknown
  • Billabong Sanctuary owner says Renee was moving her fingers last night
  • Renee's mother has flown to Townsville today 
  • Renee was a volunteer with Wildlife Rockhampton carers, who have been shocked by news of the attack

 

Koorana Crocodile Farm owner John Lever with a two-year-old crocodile he had to nurse back to health Photo Rachael Conaghan/The Morning Bulletin
Koorana Crocodile Farm owner John Lever with a two-year-old crocodile he had to nurse back to health Photo Rachael Conaghan/The Morning Bulletin Rachael Conaghan

"Female crocs are very defensive and defend with great deal of vigour," John said.   

The crocodile handler said when he collects eggs in the wild or at his farm; they are faced with aggressive female crocs all the time.  

While the full extent of Renee's injury to her arm is unknown at this stage, John said if she comes out of this ordeal with only arm lacerations she would be extremely lucky.  

"If a 2.4m croc grabbed a hold of me and I only had lacerations I'd count myself lucky," he said.  

 

UPDATE: THE woman attacked by a crocodile in North Queensland yesterday is a former Wildlife Rockhampton carer.

Reports indicate Renee Robertson was inside the pen of a female crocodile during a show when she was attacked on the arm.

Julie Robertson told The Bulletin the members of Wildlife Rockhampton are shattered by yesterday's accident.

"Renee is passionate about the welfare of all wildlife and while working with us she always showed an eagerness to learn as much as she could and help save whatever animal needed her," she said.

"There was no particular species she overtly preferred - she has a passion for all wildlife."
 

Renee Robertson was injured in a crocodile attack at Billabong Sanctuary yesterday. She attended The Cathedral College in Rockhampton
Renee Robertson was injured in a crocodile attack at Billabong Sanctuary yesterday. She attended The Cathedral College in Rockhampton


Renee joined Wildlife Rockhampton she volunteered as a carer and rescuer in between looking for work.

"She also gave up her time to attend our fundraising events where she would talk to the public about the animals, helping to educate people about living in harmony with wildlife and showing respect for all animals," Julie said.

"She left Wildlife Rockhampton and the region to accept her dream job in Townsville - working with wildlife and continuing to help educate the public and provide care for animals.

ABC reports Billabong Sanctuary owner Bob Fleming says the 25 year old ranger had the full use of her fingers before the operation last night.

"The last report I had she was sitting up in bed having an iceblock, so we are very, very fortunate that she is going to be able to recover," he said.

Renee's mother is arriving from Rockhampton this morning. 

"All wildlife carers accept a level of risk when they choose to work with potentially dangerous animals," Julie said.

"This is a tragic incident but I'm certain that Renee, like most wildlife carers, would also be concerned about the welfare of the crocodile."

Wildlife Rockhampton carers have sent Renee messages of support and well wishes.

 

9.30am: THE woman who was "backed into a corner" and attacked by a crocodile on Monday was former The Cathedral College student Renee Robertson.

The Billabong Sanctuary wildlife ranger and mammal specialist had also spent time volunteering at RSPCA Rockhampton.

The Brisbane Times reported Ms Robertson was inside the pen of "Tipper", a female crocodile, during a show when she was attacked.

A fellow staff member assisted Ms Robertson until paramedics arrived, and it is believed she sustained a "significant arm injury" and was transported in a serious condition to Townsville hospital.

Paramedics also treated eight people at the scene for shock.

Topics:  animals, billabong sanctuary, crocodile, editors picks, the cathedral college




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