Hunt is on for Rocky’s anti-croc vigilante as device found
AUTHORITIES are trying to track down the culprit who planted a saltwater crocodile catching and potentially killing device in the Fitzroy River, north of Rockhampton.
In a statement released by the Department of Environment and Science on Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson said wildlife officers were appealing to the public for information following the discovery of a large homemade hook in the Fitzroy River which could be used to catch a crocodile.
“Officers conducted a site survey and removed the hook which was attached to a chain at the Etna Creek section of the river,” the DES spokesperson said.
“Rockhampton is known croc country and the act of catching and killing a crocodile is a serious offence.
“It is considered a Class Three offence and carries a penalty of $2001.”
If anyone saw or heard anything suspicious, they are encouraged to contact the DES Hotline on 1300 130 372.
In February 2018, Belmont Research Station farmhand Luke Stephen Orchard was handed a $10,000 fine after pleading guilty to shooting of a monster 5.26-metre male crocodile near Rockhampton.
The crocodile, determined by experts to have been between 80-100 years old, was known to be wary of humans and never posed any threat to human life.
It had been shot in the head between the eyes as it rested on the bank of the Fitzroy River.
Fragments of the bullet retrieved from the crocodile by police indicated it had been shot with a .33 Winchester Marlin-model rifle, which was traced to Orchard.
The court heard Orchard knew crocodiles were a protected species and the correct action in such cases was to contact CrocWatch for it to investigate and possibly relocate the beast.
The maximum penalty for the unlawful killing of an ‘iconic’ crocodile is $28,383.75.
As the Fitzroy River is known croc country, people in the area are reminded to always be crocwise. In particular:
- Expect crocodiles in all northern Queensland waterways even if there is no warning sign
- 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 when 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 50 metres from the edge of the water
- Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near the water, at camp sites or at boat ramps
- Never provoke, harass or feed crocs
- Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead
- Remember, you are responsible for your own safety in Croc Country
- Report all croc sightings to DES by calling 1300 130 372.