Man charged with killing 5.2m CQ monster croc
AN ETNA Creek man has been charged over the unlawful killing of a monster 5.2m crocodile three months ago in the Fitzroy River.
The body of the 'iconic' crocodile, which was killed with a single gunshot, was found floating in the river on Thursday, September 21 about 1.15pm.
Detectives from State Crime Command's Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural) and officers from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) executed two search warrants on Etna Creek addresses yesterday.
Detectives seized a number of firearms including two Marlin 336 lever action 30-30 calibre rifles, a quantity of ammunition and a number of electronic devices.
A 31-year-old man has been charged with one count of unlawfully taking a protected animal class 3.
It is an offence under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 to take an estuarine crocodile without authority and there are greater penalties in place for the unlawful take of an 'iconic' crocodile, defined as 5 metres or greater in length.
The maximum penalty for the unlawful take of an 'iconic' crocodile is $28,383.75.
The alleged offender is expected to appear in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on January 12.
DES Conservation and Biodiversity Operations Director Michael Joyce said this was a good outcome for the team of officers and police who had worked on the investigation.
Mr Joyce said every investigation the department undertook was complex and this case was no different, with officers working "strenuously" to deliver a relatively quick outcome.
He said information from members of the public was used in all departmental investigations.
"We get a lot of information from the general public on all sorts of matters and that information, every piece of it is stored and understood," he said.
Mr Joyce said wildlife officers would continue to actively monitoring the crocodile activity in the Fitzroy, with the killing of such a large animal likely to have an impact on the local ecosystem.
"Out monitoring of this system has not identified a uge problem in that system, but it is still one that we're monitoring," he said.
"It's such a large animal and the territory it would take up and its responsibilities in that area ... sometimes you can see the change in days when a large animal is removed. Sometimes it can take a long time and it could take an entire season for that to occur.
"We may not see the results of a breeding crocodile like that for a number of years.
"We haven't at this stage seen large amounts of adverse impacts at this time."
Members of the public are encouraged to report suspected incidents of wildlife-related crime to the department.
This can be done by filling out a wildlife complaint form, found at www.ehp.qld.gov.au/contactus/.
Reports can also be made to DES by ringing 1300 130 372 or through Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
People in the greater Rockhampton area should always be mindful of crocodile safety when spending time on or near the Fitzroy River and its tributaries, which is known crocodile habitat.