GALLERY: Croc danger is real, rangers warn

AS THE weather heats up in the Katherine region wildlife rangers are urging locals and tourists to be crocwise.

“We are coming into the time of the year when crocodiles are starting to breed, they stake their claims and they become more territorial and aggressive,” ranger Joey Buckerfield said.

“The weather is starting to get warm and with the build-up we will see much more movement in waterways in the region.”

Mr Buckerfield said a cooling dip in a river or billabong could be very tempting during the hot build-up days, but rangers were urging people not to take the risk.

“Crocodiles are on the move now. They establish their territory and they are aggressive. Croc danger is real.”

The ranger said people were urged to be mindful and more responsible around Territory waterways.

Mr Buckerfield said Katherine rangers have started their night work between the High Level bridge and Donkey Camp in a bid to keep an eye on saltwater crocodiles’ movements.

Mr Buckerfield also said rangers were currently looking into the case of a saltie stalking two Katherine men.

Two weeks ago Gary Hickey and Paul Ghirardello were paddling in their kayaks in the King River, 30km west of Katherine, when  a 3.5m to 4m saltie followed them.

Mr Buckerfield, who since has spoken to Mr Hickey, said he could only speculate about the crocodile’s intentions.

“The men watched the crocodile get off the bank into the water and then it popped up next to them.

“The croc could have just been having a look - but you never know.”

Earlier this year Katherine man Sean Cole was taken by a saltie while swimming in a croc infested river.

In June - for the first time ever - rangers caught a saltwater crocodile in a freshwater mining dam near Pine Creak.

Rangers said they had caught a record number of saltwater crocs in Territory waterways last year.

To report the sighting of a saltie in the region ring 0419 828 487.

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