Rangers bag 3.1m croc
THREE wildlife rangers risked their lives to harpoon and capture a 3.1-metre male saltwater crocodile yesterday morning.
For five weeks the crocodile evaded traps set by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), but was finally caught at 12.45am by rangers 8.5km upstream from the Rockhampton Water Ski and Powerboat Club at Laurel Banks.
It took more than an hour to catch the reptile after a non-lethal harpoon was fired into its hide about 11.30pm on Thursday.
The crocodile was so big it had to be tied to the side of the boat.
VQPWS senior ranger (wildlife) Tim Farry said it was believed the reptile was the same beast sighted several times in the Laurel Banks area during the past 12 months.
"At this stage we are satisfied we have removed an animal that was of the size description of an animal frequenting the Laurel Banks area,'' he said.
"We believe there are potentially three animals (crocodiles) in the area.
"The fact that we have removed one crocodile will not make it safer.''
The two crocodiles still in the Laurel Banks section of the Fitzroy River are believed to be smaller than the one captured yesterday morning.
Mr Farry said people should not swim in crocodile inhabited areas, and maintain crocodile awareness.
"Crocodiles can be found in the lower sections of the Mac- kenzie and Dawson rivers, and in the whole Fitzroy River,'' he said.
"It is quite reasonable for an animal to swim 20 to 80km per day.''
Mr Farry said the fact that it was breeding season at the moment made it more important for people to be "croc wise''.
The beast, thought to weigh between 90 and 100kg, will have a new home at the Cairns Crocodile Farm, however he will be kept at the Koorana Crocodile Farm near Emu Park until it can be relocated. Cairns Crocodile Farm owner Keith Cook said he had already decided on a name, and was looking forward to meeting the farm's first Rockhampton resident.
"I might call him Rocky I think,'' he said.
"I am happy to be taking Rocky, and will make sure he has a long and happy life.''
At this stage, rangers are looking to remove crocodile traps from the river.