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article imageAussie croc myths come to life: big crocs getting the locals worried in Kakadu

By Paul Wallis     May 21, 2008 in Environment
Anyone who’s ever had fishing in the family will know the problem; you can’t get them to think about anything else. That includes safety. Northern Territory Rangers are now getting worried about the fishermen getting in the way of saltwater crocodiles
The Daily Telegraph has published an aptly named piece called “Idiot fishermen in crocodile danger”, which you’d think would be pretty unnecessary. Four metre crocs are pretty common, and most people know that they’re not vegetarians.
Croc attacks are relatively rare, but with their numbers growing back, and no street directories, everywhere’s their turf, as far as they’re concerned.
The Daily Telegraph:
Park ranger Gary Lindner said there were reports of a large croc "nudging'' boats and getting close to visitors at Cahill's Crossing, on East Alligator River in the Northern Territory.
"This unusual behaviour is a sign of a people problem, not a croc problem,'' he told our sister paper the Northern Territory News.
Two 4m salties were recently caught in the area - but another five have been seen acting aggressively.
Jabiru storeman Kerry McLoughlin, 40, was decapitated by a 5m croc at this same fishing spot in 1987.
Crocs have been known to attack motor boats, and win, against outboard motors. Four metres isn’t particularly big, either, some get up to six or seven, but it’s big enough to take out a human easily.
This is where the real idiocy comes in:
"People have been caught standing in the water to fish for barra, (barramundi, large freshwater fish) throwing fish carcasses back along the water line, and fishing late at night without proper croc-spotting lights,'' he said.
Mr Lindner said this was dangerous because the crocs were associating the fishermen with food.
"That's when you get crocs acting inquisitively like this, and we have to come in and modify their behaviour before someone gets hurt,'' he said.
There are only a few crocs in this particular area, but it’s incredible to see these tourist-type mistakes from Territorians.
One of the things that baffles most Aussies is how blasé some tourists are about wild animals. (Apparently if you come from LA or somewhere like that, getting ripped to pieces by a large reptile isn’t a real problem.) Usually the bits are found in the croc a few weeks later.
For locals to be acting like that, however, is bordering on heresy, as well as stupidity of an unusually high order. Chucking bits of fish in the water is as likely to attract crocs as sharks, which also roam the estuaries.
On the Daily Telegraph article is a picture of a croc eating a blue shark. I’ve heard of it before, but I hadn’t seen it until today.
Just add a pair of thongs to the shark, and you can see where these fishermen are heading.
More about Australia, Crocodiles, Fishermen idiots
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