A family have stumbled upon a “distressed and dehydrated” crocodile in a suburban park.
The juvenile estuarine (saltwater) crocodile was found at the 7th Brigade Park in the northern Brisbane suburb of Chermside on Thursday about 80 metres away from a creek.
The family put it in an Esky to transport it to wildlife authorities, Nine News reported.
“Certainly sitting out at Chermside in southern Queensland in winter is not the place you would expect to find a juvenile estuarine crocodile,” Warren Christensen, from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, said.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) said the crocodile was just 40 centimetres long, but would have posed a danger to the public if it had grown to full size.
Disturbingly, the department said it was believed the animal was caught and then transported to Queensland with the intention of being raised as a pet, but then left in the park for dead.
“Transporting wild animals – and in this case a dangerous one – is completely unacceptable,” the department said.
“Apart from being very cruel, doing so can cause serious issues such as transmission of disease and introducing them into unsuitable habitat.”
While the crocodile was found in a pretty bad way, it is getting the best care possible.
“The dehydrated and distressed animal has now been transported to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service facility at Moggill and is in a pond to recover from its ordeal,” the DES said in a statement.
“But there’s a happy ending for this young crocodile who will now receive the best of care and be re-homed in one of the Queensland Government wildlife centres in southeast Queensland.”
The department is urging anyone who has information on how the animal was brought to Brisbane to come forward by calling 1300 130 372.
It is illegal to have a crocodile as a pet in Queensland, according to the DES, however there are provisions “available for them to be kept for other purposes such as farming or education”.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.