A man is expected to face court in central Queensland next month accused of shooting dead a 5.2-metre saltwater crocodile.
The reptile was found floating in the Fitzroy River near Rockhampton on 21 September.
A 31-year-old Etna Creek man has been issued with a notice to appear in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on 12 January on one count of unlawfully taking a protected animal.
If convicted, he could face a fine of up to $28,300.
The crocodile was thought to be one of the biggest ever seen in Queensland.
Experts feared the animal’s death could lead to a other crocodiles becoming more aggressive as young males fought for supremacy. Michael Joyce, southern wildlife operations director at Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, said the remaining male crocodiles could act differently and become more hostile as they establish who will rule next.
“They don’t necessarily become more aggressive with outsiders,” Joyce said on Friday. “But we would expect people to be croc-wise in croc country and be extra vigilant.”
Cassius, a male caught in the Northern Territory three decades ago, is recognised as the world’s largest crocodile in captivity. It measures 5.48m and lives at a farm on Green Island in far north Queensland.
A 6.16m Philippine crocodile called Lolong held the record until it died in 2013.
This article was first published by The Guardian on 22 Dec 2017.