Huge croc captured but not the one rangers targeted

Laine ClarkAAP
A big croc snared near a Queensland marina is the second this week. (HANDOUT/DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND INNOVATION)
Camera IconA big croc snared near a Queensland marina is the second this week. (HANDOUT/DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND INNOVATION) Credit: AAP

A massive crocodile has been captured a day after wildlife officers set a trap in north Queensland.

However rangers have revealed the 3m reptile they snared at Cardwell Marina north of Townsville was not the "problem crocodile" they were targeting.

A baited floating trap was set up this week in a bid to capture a large croc that had been behaving aggressively around local boats and had reportedly taken a dog at the marina.

"The targeted animal had been declared a problem crocodile after reportedly lunging at the resident of a houseboat in April, then repeatedly swimming around the vessel," a Department of Environment, Science and Innovation statement said.

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The next day rangers found success but quickly realised the hunt for the problem croc was not over.

"The three-metre crocodile that was captured was not the targeted animal. We will reset the trap for the targeted animal shortly," the department said.

Wildlife officers believe baited crab pots may have lured the massive reptiles to the marina.

"We observed no turtles in the marina and relatively few fish, so some other attractant must have drawn the crocodiles into the marina," the department's Lindsay Delzoppo said.

"Today, our staff observed baited crab pots on pontoons in the marina, which may have been what attracted the crocodiles.

"They have a highly developed sense of smell, allowing them to detect prey or animal carcasses, on the land and in the water, from far away."

Rangers have asked locals to properly dispose of unwanted bait and fish with at least one large crocodile still at large in the area.

"The crocodiles are hanging around the marina for one reason and that reason is food," Mr Delzoppo said.

"Crocodiles will quickly get accustomed to free food and will start approaching people and may start behaving aggressively, as the target animal did in the marina."

The captured 3m crocodile will be temporarily placed in a holding facility before being placed in a farm or zoo.

It is the second captured this week following the removal of a 2.5m crocodile hanging around boat ramps for months and approaching vessels for food in Coorooman Creek in the Rockhampton region.

"People are responsible for their own safety in Croc Country and we're asking people to make sensible choices around the water," Mr Delzoppo said.

"That means never deliberately feeding crocodiles or giving them easy access to food. Crocodiles have been around for millions of years, and they can source their own food."

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