Saturday 2 December 2017

British tourist attacked by Crocodile at Cape Tribulation in northern Queensland.

A 24-year-old woman believed to be a British tourist was attacked by a Saltwater Crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, at Cape Tribulation in northern Queensland, Australia, on Wednesday 27 November 2017. The attack happened at about 6.00 om local time, when the Crocodile launched itself suddenly from a creek, and left the woman with a series of puncture wounds in her upper thigh. She received treatment at Mossman Hospital, and is not thought to be in a serious condition. 

Injuries sustained by a British woman in a Crocodile attack on 27 November 2017 (inset) and the area where the attack took place (main picture). Cairns Post/Facebook.

A two meter Saltwater Crocodile was later captured at the beach by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and will be offered for rehoming to a local zoo or wildlife park (Saltwater Crocodiles are protected in Queensland and killing one carries stiff penalties). The incident comes roughly eighteen months after another woman, Cindy Waldron, from New South Wales, was killed by a Crocodile while wading in the sea near Cape Tribulation, and has led to calls for a cull of the animals by some local politicians.

The approximate location of the 27 November 2017 Cape Tribulation Crocodile attack. Google Maps.

Saltwater Crocodiles are one of the few Crocodile species not considered vulnerable to extinction, being found from India to Australia  and inhabiting many areas that Humans shun, such as Mangrove forests and islands without fresh water. However they are protected in Queensland and other Australian states where they are present, as they are considered an important part of local aquatic ecosystems, and were hunted almost to extinction there between the 1940s and 1960s. They are large animals, reaching about seven meters in length, and are ambush predators capable of taking large prey, including, on occasion, Humans. This can lead to problems as they recolonise areas where they were previously exterminated and encounter Humans who are na├»ve to their habits, or areas where tourism provides a regular supply of Crocodile-unwary people.

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