Crew faces hiccups as monster croc is released
THEY say to never smile at a crocodile, but there was no wiping the grin off John Lever's face yesterday.
His glee comes after Rocky II, the monster croc captured at the Fitzroy River on Friday, was released into his temporary pen at Koorana Crocodile Farm.
Rocky II will be kept in the enclosure for around six months before being moved into his new home, which once belonged to his namesake, Rocky, who died late last month.
On Tuesday, farm owner Mr Lever was joined by son Adam and two other crew members to facilitate the release from the trap Rocky II had been kept in since his capture.
National Parks and Wildlife officers also attended the release, taking a DNA sample from the reptile's tail to enter into a national database.
"The DNA taken will help our team track crocodile movements across Queensland," Wildlife officer Alex Peters said.
While the release encountered a few minor hiccups Mr Lever labelled it an overall success.
"It's always a drama releasing crocodiles, they're a master of getting out of the ropes and it happens from time to time," he said.
"It never goes off textbook style the first time, but it went well."
Mr Lever estimated Rocky II to weigh around 450kg and measured him in at 3.7m.
Unfortunately, visitors to the farm will have to wait around six months before they can catch a glimpse of Rocky II, as he adjusts to his new surroundings.
The monster croc was taken to the farm following a 16-day operation conducted by local authorities.
His removal came after reports people had fed the animal fish scraps and meat. Authorities also became concerned after the croc was said to have approached small boats.
Mr Lever urged the public to remain "croc wise" and to clean up their scraps.
"Once you start feeding a crocodile in a particular place, he establishes that as his feeding territory," he said.
"And if you're in it, then you're a potential threat and challenge - but you're also food".
Koorana Crocodile Farm, based in Coowonga, opened in 1981 and is now home to over 5000 crocs.