Mysterious croc outsmarts hunters

RUMOURS of a second giant crocodile lurking in the Mary River have been quashed by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP).

The Chronicle received information that wildlife officers were on alert after locating a second, but slightly smaller, croc than the 3.5m reptile first sighted near Maryborough in May.

But EHP's wildlife director, Dr Ashley Bunce, denied this claim and said people might simply have been confused by the crocodile's movements.

"EHP has no evidence of a second crocodile in the Mary River," Dr Bunce said.

"It is possible that this is the same animal observed on separate occasions as it moves along sections of the river."

So far the Heritage City croc has evaded capture by wildlife rangers, thumbing its nose at riverbank traps set with fish, chicken and even a pig carcass.

The creature seemed to have fallen off the radar until August 30, when a group of animated locals said they spied the saltwater beast swimming past the Maryborough Sailing Club.

Authorities have been investigating all reported sightings, which began when the croc was located near Beaver Rock boat ramp on May 1.

Dr Bunce said they were trying to contact the locals involved in the most recent claims.

"Water and land-based surveys were undertaken after the reports came in, but no evidence of the crocodile was observed."

Because the crocodile could be moving along the river, Dr Bunce said it was important for the public to be wary of its presence.

Rangers are expected to continue surveying the river and monitor the crocodile's movements before once again laying traps in an attempt to relocate it.

"EHP will restart a trapping program for the crocodile when weather warms; or earlier if the animal's behaviour suggests trapping would be successful," Dr Bunce said.

Anyone who sees the crocodile should report it to EHP on 1300 130 372.



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