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Hunt on for croc after boy, 12, taken in Australia

16 Comments

Police and rangers were Monday hunting a crocodile that snatched a 12-year-old boy from a northern Australian waterhole, with shoot-to-kill orders for any creature longer than two meters and fresh calls for a cull.

The boy was swimming with friends in the Mudginberri Billabong in the Northern Territory's Kakadu National Park on Sunday afternoon when the group was attacked. One other boy suffered bite wounds as he tried to fight the creature off.

Aerial, land and boat searches in and around Magela Creek, which feeds the billabong or waterhole, continued throughout the night but there was no sign of the boy.

The NT Parks and Wildlife Commission gave rangers the order to shoot dead any crocodile longer than two meters sighted in the area of Mudginberri Outstation, which is about 200 kilometers east of Darwin.

The order had originally been for animals bigger than three meters but was expanded after examination of the bite marks on the boy who escaped revealed that the croc responsible was between 2-3 meters.

Two crocodiles were shot and cut open overnight, but they had not ingested any human remains.

"One 4.3 meters; one 4.7 meters," Sergeant Stephen Constable said of the creatures.

"We've since had a look at both crocodiles and neither of them had anything in their stomachs."

The local Aboriginal people, the Mirarr, called for a cull of the predatory reptiles around Jabiru following the incident.

"Mirarr traditional owners are saying (it's) high time to cull crocodiles," said Justin O'Brien, chief of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation.

There are periodic calls for crocodile culls after fatalities in the Northern Territory but their numbers are such that it's historically been considered impractical.

Rangers set a trap in Magela Creek late Monday and prepared to continue searching the waterways by boat through the night, though Constable said efforts would be scaled back.

"We've done the sprint, now we've got to pace ourselves," he said.

Parks officer and crocodile specialist Garry Lindner said a 2-3-meter crocodile was sizeable, particularly up against a child.

Lindner said flooding due to the local monsoon season was complicating the search, leaving the 200-meter waterway more than a kilometer wide.

Saltwater crocodiles can grow up to seven meters long, weigh more than a ton, and are a common feature of Australia's tropical north.

Their numbers have increased steadily since the introduction of protection laws in 1971, with government estimates putting the population at 75,000-100,000.

The most recent fatality was in August last year, when a man was taken by a 4.7-meter croc as he swam across the Mary River.

Parks officials said the Magela Creek area was well signposted as a crocodile danger zone.

"We have big croc warning signs with croc jaws and a big thing saying 'croc risk; do not swim here, do not enter,'" a spokeswoman said.

Australian researchers launched the world's first crocodile attack database, CrocBITE, last month, hoping to firm up anecdotal reports that harmful or fatal incidents are increasing.

Sunday's attack in Kakadu is the 11th fatality recorded so far this year by the CrocBITE team, which is based at Australia's Charles Darwin University.

The other crocodile-related deaths in 2014 have been in Angola, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Five have involved saltwater crocs.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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This is so tragic! Poor, poor 12 year old boy! I know we can not really blame the crocs but bloody hell, what a horrible way to die (presuming he was already killed and eaten up by these salt water crocs)

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

RIP. This is tragic but the signs are there for a reason. It may be the case that they didn't see the warnings or just decided to ignore them. Hard but valuable lesson for the surviving members.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Saltwater crocodiles can grow up to seven meters long, weigh more than a ton, and are a common feature of Australia’s tropical north. 7 METERS LONG??? That is just way too long and big and I know back in Costa Rica there are signs in Spanish but with pictures etc..to try and keep people from swimming in lakes with crocodiles etc..but a few years back some tourists from Israel did not pay attention and the locals tried to tell them not to go swimming there (in Spanish) the Israelis did not listen to the warnings and they ended up getting killed and eaten by the Costa Rican crocs.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Poor crocs getting randomly shot up just in case they'd eaten a human.Something's wrong somewhere.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

does it make sense to just go out and kill randon crocs in case they may have eaten the boy? What does it achieve beyond killing a croc?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Bon appetite! Pack of boys living in the area, must have been well aware of the danger, classic case of learning from mistakes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Elbuda

Really? Do you have a source for that? Because my "crocodile Costa Rica Israeli" google search came up with nothing....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Shark cull and now random crocs... Oz, get it together!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Surprisingly, it is often Aboriginal Australians who fall victim to crocodiles. Heres hoping the Aboriginal elders educate their mobs' kids on the dangers of swimming in infested areas a lot more. ALL these deaths are avoidable.

Rest in Peace, poor kid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dammit kids, don’t ignore the signs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

does it make sense to just go out and kill randon crocs in case they may have eaten the boy?

It seems to make sense to the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission, various Australian crocodile specialists and the aboriginal people of the region. But what do they know? Right?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So when is Sea Shepherd going to show up and ram the park ranger's boats?

" Because of hunting and destruction of their habitat most crocodile species are endangered."

http://www.animalplanet.com/reptiles/crocodile-info.htm

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Lubracasi, about some Israeli tourist swimmimg in Costa Rica and getting killed and eaten by crocs, I saw it on some cable tv show, maybe its up on YouTube?? And one of the nicer crocs has a cool name, Pancho! The locals feed it meat and other left overs, but the Costa Rican locals know better than swimming there. As for Australia, not sure why anybody would be silly enough to swim in rivers with many warning signs, but kids do stupid things so??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Elbuda

Thank you, sir : )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And one of the nicer crocs has a cool name, Pancho!

Had. Pancho died in 2011.

I can't find anything about that story either, though.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Signs don't do a great deal of good sadly. There are people who won't be told, there are people who always think they know better and of course there are people who see the big red button and just have to press it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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