Rangers capture 4-meter saltwater crocodile found 'menacing' tourists in Australia

May 5, 2015 10:57 am 

MELBOURNE, May 5 — Wildlife officers captured a four-meter saltwater crocodile in Western Australia on Tuesday, after it was found "menacing" tourists at a popular camping site in the Kimberley region.

Local rangers used a feral cow as bait to lure the 3.7 meter-long crocodile — described as "very cranky" by a local — into a steel trap set by state authorities.

This is at least the second incident in as many months involving a saltwater crocodile in the area, but rangers are unsure of actual sighting numbers after they said last month that sightings of the dangerous reptiles had been going unreported.

They hinted that it was only a matter of time before someone — tourist or local — is killed.

More than 300,000 tourists from Australia and overseas visit the Kimberley region of Western Australia every year, but the Department of Parks and Wildlife's Peter Carstair said they were confident they had caught the same animal that posed a threat to campers over the Eastern weekend.

"This crocodile had come into an area where there were a lot of people," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday.

"It's a very popular fishing spot and had been getting very inquisitive and getting too close to people."

The animal was transported to the nearby town of Broome, where it has since been introduced to its new home at the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park and Animal Refuge.

Saltwater crocodiles have been a protected species in Western Australia since 1970, when it was found that excessive hunting almost rendered the crocodile extinct, but recent research has indicated to experts that the animal is of "minimal concern" for extinction.

Due to the increase in dangerous and threatening crocodile activity in the Fitzroy River area of the Kimberley, locals and tourists are being encouraged to report any sightings to local wildlife officers.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife said it would continue to monitor the area. (PNA/Xinhua)

FFC/EBP

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