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Gotcha: Big crocodile trapped in Katherine

GOTCHA: Rangers trapped this big saltwater crocodile at the Nitmiluk Gorge last night and removed it this morning. Picture: supplied.A big 3.7metre saltwater crocodile has been pulled from the first gorge at Nitmiluk National Park this morning.

The gorges are some of the most visited tourist locations in the Northern Territory.

Nitmiluk National Park senior district ranger Andrew McPhee said the crocodile was trapped in the first gorge last night.

“We had a report the trap had gone off and on inspection this morning we identified a salty inside. We have since removed the animal from the water and re-set the trap.

“We have had a number of sightings of saltwater crocodiles in the Katherine River and with the large amount of rain this wet season we are not surprised to trap it here. It simply highlights why we have restrictions in place at Nitmiluk Gorge.”

The return of the traditional wet season has seen river levels reach 15 metres at downstream Katherine and almost reach minor flood levels at the gorge.

Only seven saltwater crocodiles have been taken from Nitmiluk Gorge since 2006.

The Parks and Wildlife Commission NT trapped othersaltwater crocodiles at a popular waterway near Darwinovernight.

OUT YOU COME: Rangers sedated the big saltwatrer crocodile with a dart gun before manouvering it from the trap. Picture: supplied.

The Director of Northern n Parks, Neva McCartney said the 1.7 metre male saltwater crocodile trapped at Manton Dam was caught in a trap at the most southern end of the reservoir, which is the area closest to Darwin River Dam.

PWCNT chief wildlife ranger Tommy Nichols said these trappings are why we continue to urge everyone to be extra vigilant and respect all safety signs and restrictions.

“Be Crocwise and behave responsibly, stay out of rivers, creeks and causeway crossings. Saltwater crocodiles can inhabit any waterway including freshwater systems, billabongs and low areas subject to flooding,” said Mr Nichols.

“The increase in height of the Darwin River Dam spillway a few years ago has not only increased the water level but has also increased connectivity and easier passage for saltwater crocodiles to move between the two dams, particularly in the wet season.”

Crocodile numbers have recovered since hunting ceased and they can now be found in places where they haven’t been seen before.

“Saltwater Crocodiles generally spend the wet season mating and then nesting; males are more mobile and the species are far more territorial at this time. Keep in mind crocodiles are ambush predators; they will see you long before you will see them,” said Mr Nichols.

Nitmiluk Gorges are currently closed for swimming and canoeing but open for visitors via scenic cruises and flights.

Manton Dam is currently open to boating and fishing only

To report saltwater crocodile sightings inthe Katherine region phone 0407 958 405.

Katherine Times

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