Why the shooting of a giant croc makes Queensland creeks more dangerous

A Queensland reptile expert has warned killing large crocs could make waterway habitats “much more dangerous” after a 4.3-metre crocodile was found shot dead on the banks of a river.

Authorities are investigating after a photo emerged on Facebook of a large crocodile held up on a rope, believing it could be the same as a 4.3m one which was found dead on a river bank near Innisfail in April.

University of Queensland reptile expert, Associate Professor Bryan Fry, told Yahoo7 killing large crocs will only make waterways more dangerous.

A saltwater crocodile in Queensland. File pic. Source: Getty Images

“When you have a dominant croc in the area and you remove him you’re inviting smaller, more aggressive crocodiles into the area,” he said.

“The super croc would have been chasing them away and now you’ve got all of these smaller crocodiles, some about 3m long or so, battling for territory. It makes waterways far more dangerous for humans.”

Professor Fry compared the “super croc” to the male lion in charge of a pride. Without him, it causes instability and infighting.

Police want to speak to this man after this image, of a dead 4.3 metre croc was shared on Facebook. Source: 7 News

He added when large crocodiles die of natural causes, there’s a more “gradual transition” as the smaller crocodiles fight to take over.

“There’s always a period of instability,” he said.

“But with shooting, it’s very acute.”

Professor Fry described the 4.3m croc’s death as “senseless” and believes the animal’s death is not only an environmental resource lost but an economic one too.

“Killing a large crocodile like that is similar to killing a whale,” he said.

“It’s an eco-tourism resource.”

 In a statement, the Department of Environment and Science said they were investigating the “suspicious death” and to date no one has been charged.

“On Sunday 29 April 2018, DES wildlife officers recovered the carcass of a 4.3 metre estuarine crocodile from the banks of the South Johnstone River at a farm at Wangan, south of Innisfail,” the statement read.

“The animal appeared to have been shot.”