Investigation into alleged crocodile poaching - Townsville

Issued: 17 Aug 2023

The crocodile most likely drowned to death.

The crocodile most likely drowned to death.

The hook was removed from the animal's digestive tract.

The hook was removed from the animal's digestive tract.

The death of a crocodile discovered in mangroves on the Ross River in Townsville is being investigated, with wildlife officers believing the animal was deliberately targeted and killed.

Senior Wildlife Officer Tony Frisby said the Department of Environment and Science (DES) received a report on 15 August 2023, about a deceased crocodile near the Barnacle Street boat ramp.

“When wildlife officers attended the scene, they discovered the 2.6m crocodile entangled in the mangroves,” Mr Frisby said.

“When retrieving the animal, the wildlife officers noted a wired rope around four metres long was hanging out of the crocodile’s jaws, and it had been weighted down with a small rock.

“The crocodile was taken to the DES facility in Townsville where the wired rope was removed from the animal’s digestive tract.

“Disturbingly, wildlife officers found a large hook attached to the wired rope, and they believe the hook was baited in a deliberate attempt to target and kill the crocodile.

“The wired rope was set up in a similar way to devices used by poachers, and wildlife officers are conducting further searchers of the surrounding area for other hook devices.

“This is a disgraceful act, and the crocodile would have died a slow, agonising death.

“Queenslanders do not tolerate animal cruelty like this and the person who did this needs to be brought to justice.

“Anyone with information about the hook device or the death of the crocodile is urged to contact the department.”

Mr Frisby said crocodiles in Queensland are a vulnerable species and are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

“It is unlawful to deliberately harm or kill crocodiles or be in possession of a deceased crocodile or parts of a deceased crocodile,” he said.

“The maximum penalty for the deliberate harm or killing of crocodiles in Queensland is $32,243.”

Anyone with information about any deceased crocodiles, or with information about people in possession of crocodile skulls or other body parts, should call 1300 130 372 or contact the Queensland Police Service.

Information can be provided anonymously.