Ian Hunt does not call himself a ‘croc-wrangler’, but his daily work is the subject of a National Geographic documentary.
- More than 300 crocodiles were caught in Top End waters by 2021
- Once the crocodile is captured, they are sent to a crocodile farm
- Rangers say too many people ignore warning signs
The Wildlife Ranger in the Northern Territory spends its days setting and checking crocodile traps across the Top End, pulling problematic prehistoric monsters from waters too close to homes.
“We do not really have an average day here at croc management,” said Mr. Hunt.
“We respond to inquiries that may involve going out to properties, [going] out at the port and recreate our traps, enter data and work with scientists. “
About 300 crocodiles were caught in the Top End waterways in 2021, a fairly average annual figure, according to the crocodile management.
But the year started busy.
As a heavy wet season turned flooded rivers into crocodile superhighways, rangers captured several monsters a day in all sorts of places.
“We have animals everywhere: streams, the back of houses, they can just show up anywhere,” said Mr. Hunt.
“For us, it’s normal to find a crocodile, but for most people, when they find one in their backyard, it’s unusual.”
Da Mr. Hunt and his team are called in, capture and remove rangers the problematic crocodile.
From there, the animal is taken to a crocodile farm, where its future is determined by its size, weight, sex and state of health.
Some relocated crocodiles are used for breeding, others are used for handbags.
“When we take it out to the crocodile farm, it’s their prerogative,” said Mr. Hunt.
Northern Territory’s crocodile management plan is designed to reduce human deaths by removing crocodiles from popular areas.
Swimming on crocodile land
Despite the fact that the northern part of Australia is a well-known ‘croc country’, rangers say that territories all too often dice with death.
During 2021, a handful of people have been bitten by the animals, and rangers say crocodile traps have even been stolen in Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs Park, a crime that would have meant thieves had to climb into crocodile-infested water. to pull it out. .
“It would have required a lot of muscle to remove it. It was not something they did on a whim,” said Mr. Hunt.
So far, no one has been charged in the incident.
There is a saying in the Northern Territory: ‘If it is not chlorinated, it is not safe to swim.’
But sometimes Top End beaches and waterways prove too tempting in the heat.
Gunn Point, the road to which was recently sealed, has seen more visitors this year and in return more people willing to take a risky dip in the water.
“Earlier this year, we removed six animals from a creek on Gunn Point Road, and that creek was an area of concern to us because a dog was taken. [by a crocodile] there, “said Mr. Hunt.
“But we still see people going down there, taking their pets for a swim and even swimming themselves.
In Buffalo Creek, people have been caught in waist-deep water throwing a line in hopes of spoiling the elusive one-meter barramundi.
What they are not aware of is the very real risk of being pulled in by a crocodile that the 3.78-meter-long saline rangers were picked up there on Wednesday.
It is the second crocodile measuring more than 3.7 meters to be caught in the area in a week.
“We all know what crocodiles are capable of, but they still surprise us, so we have to be vigilant,” said Mr. Hunt.
“We know that crocodiles move through all river systems and waterways [and] the last thing we want to do is witness a death or an attack. “
As the Top Ends wet season approaches its peak again, rangers’ territories and visitors are encouraged to remember that they are on crocodile land.