Fitzroy River crocodile successfully trapped and removed

Issued: 1 Feb 2020

Wildlife officers from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) have successfully trapped and removed a large crocodile from the Fitzroy River in North Rockhampton.

A trap was set near the North Rockhampton Boat Ramp on January 17 after the crocodile had been seen taking a discarded shark carcass there.

Southern Wildlife Operations Manager Frank Mills said the trap was triggered around 8pm last night and the presence of an animal within was confirmed by a photograph from the trap’s camera.

“Once a trap is triggered, our staff deploy to the site to confirm the size of the animal and secure it within the trap. This is a very delicate operation and usually takes a few hours,” Mr Mills said.

“Due to its large size, (greater than 4m) the crocodile must be dealt with as an ‘icon crocodile’ under Queensland’s conservation laws.

“The animal can only be placed with a registered crocodile farm or zoo which agrees to use it for crocodile conversation educational purposes.

“The placement of an icon crocodile must also be done in consultation with the relevant Traditional Owners.

“Arrangements are now being made to transfer the crocodile to Korana crocodile farm in accordance with its icon status.”

Mr Mills said the crocodile was first reported to DES on January 5 and it was quickly determined that its behaviour indicated that it had been deliberately or inadvertently fed.

“The crocodile had been seen multiple times over the last few weeks and wildlife officers had been concerned and disappointed at reports that locals had been throwing meat into the river in an attempt to coax it out,” Mr Mills said.

“This is extremely risky and dangerous behaviour and under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 the maximum penalty for deliberately or inadvertently feeding a crocodile is $5,222.

“For your sake and the sake of this protected species, we are urging the local community to be mindful of this and always properly discard fish scraps.”

Under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan, Rockhampton’s Fitzroy River is in Zone E (General Management Zone). This means that crocodiles displaying dangerous behaviour are targeted for removal.

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.