Stolen freshwater croc finds a home at Walkabout Creek

Issued: 1 Jun 2021

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is appealing for public information after a freshwater crocodile hatchling, found thousands of kilometres from home, was surrendered to wildlife officers.

Senior Wildlife Officer Tina Ball said a member of the public delivered the hatchling to a Childers zoo on May 10 and didn’t leave any contact details.

“The zoo proprietor believes the freshwater crocodile was taken from the wild in the Mt Isa area a few months ago,” Ms Ball said.

“It’s believed the person who dropped it off was travelling to the Sunshine Coast and was going to release it in a waterway as they didn't want it anymore.

“Thankfully the proprietor called wildlife officers and told us about the crocodile, and he was also able to provide care for the animal until wildlife officers collected it.

“The crocodile was observed to be active and swimming and was found to be in good health following a vet check, which is pleasing given the ordeal that it had suffered.

“A scale was removed from its tail and was sent to our scientists for a DNA test, which should determine if the animal came from the Mount Isa region.”

Ms Ball said the freshwater crocodile has been transferred to the Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre at Enoggera, where it was currently in quarantine.

“Unfortunately, the freshwater crocodile cannot be released to the wild because we’re not sure if it was exposed to any other animals, which could potentially have exposed it to disease,” she said.

“The crocodile now has a new home at the Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre, and it will be put on display to help educate the public about the illegal trade of wildlife.

“It is cruel and potentially fatal when any native animal is removed from the wild and transported in a box or cage over long distances.

“The usual range for freshwater crocodiles in Queensland is the Cape York region, the Townsville region and the Burdekin region, so this freshie is a long way from home.

“The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are reminding people that it is unlawful to take native animals from the wild or keep them without permits.

“The maximum penalty for the illegal take, harm or keep of a freshwater crocodile is $5222.”

“People who have concerns about the illegal trade of native wildlife should contact wildlife officers on 1300 130 372, and the department investigates each report.”

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