Rangers have snared a jumbo crocodile in one of the Top End’s most visited natural attractions.
Tourist numbers are low because of the wet season which is just as well with the latest catch at the world famous Nitmiluk Gorge near Katherine in the Northern Territory.
A feisty 3.97 metre saltwater crocodile was pulled from a trap at the gorge at about 10 this morning.
Rangers believe it is one of the biggest ever pulled from the gorge.
An even bigger croc was only caught at a property near Pine Creek NT earlier in the month.
More than a quarter of million tourists visit the gorge each year, which rivals Kakadu as one of the NT’s best drawcards.
Only 10 saltwater crocodiles have been taken from Nitmiluk Gorge since 2006.
“The trap sits there all year round. It is the only active croc management we do at this time of the year,” senior wildlife ranger Andrew McPhee said.
“We caught three at the gorge last year and that was a record, before that it was very rare we would catch one here.”
A group of tourists were pleasantly surprised to witness the capture.
“We came out to the gorge to go to the Baruwei Lookout,” Debbie from the Gold Coast said.
“I have never seen anything like this before, except on TV.
“I was nervous for the people handling the croc, but it was so great to watch,” she said.
Mr McPhee said the croc most likely swum upstream into the gorge from the Katherine River.
“This one has very black skin so that tells me it has come from a swampy area,” Mr McPhee said.
“I would guess it came from around the Daly and was flushed out during the floods there.”
Wildlife ranger John Burke said people who are out fishing or hunting should be aware that crocs can be lurking around anywhere.
“Avoid going near the edge of the water, always stand at least five metres from the water’s edge when fishing.
“Stay out of the water, you can never be 100 per cent sure there is not a croc around, do not underestimate a crocodile.” he said.
To report saltwater crocodile sightings in the Katherine region phone 0407 958 405.