Rangers from the Northern Territory catch more than 300 crocodiles in 2021 after the number rises during the heavy wet season

Ian Hunt does not call himself a ‘croc-wrangler’, but his daily work is the subject of a National Geographic documentary.

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. “

Man in ranger uniform posing next to propeller.
NT rangers, including Mr Hunt, are concerned that territories and visitors are too complacent about waterways. (ABC News: Che Chorley)

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.

A drone shot of the Daly River.
The Top End rivers, including the Daly River, are home to most of its saltwater crocodiles.(ABC News: Michael Franchi )

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.

A boat approaches a crocodile trap at the edge of a river, near Darwin.
25 permanent traps are in place across Darwin and its environs, with a handful of mobile traps used when spotting crocodiles.(ABC News: Michael Franchi)

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.

A large crocodile lying on the bottom of a boat, with its mouth taped closed with silver tape.
This 3.73 meter long saltwater crocodile was caught this week at the popular fishing spot Buffalo Creek.(Delivered)

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.

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