Australian rangers trap 770-pound crocodile near Outback tourist spot

Wildlife rangers in Australia have trapped a 14.5-foot, 770-pound saltwater crocodile at a tourist spot in the country’s Northern Territory.

The giant male croc was caught in the Flora River at a remote nature park on Friday, about 75 miles southwest of the Outback town of Katherine, said Katherine senior wildlife ranger, John Burke. He said it was the biggest crocodile caught in the area in several years.

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“I certainly wouldn’t want to run across him when I’m out fishing,” Burke told Australia’s ABC news outlet.

A 770-pound (350-kilogram) male crocodile is tied to the back of a trailer in Katherine, Australia on Aug. 28, 2020. Wildlife rangers trapped the 14.5-foot (4.4-meter) saltwater crocodile at a tourist destination in Australia's Northern Territory. (Northern Territory Dept. of Tourism, Sport and Culture via AP)

A 770-pound (350-kilogram) male crocodile is tied to the back of a trailer in Katherine, Australia on Aug. 28, 2020. Wildlife rangers trapped the 14.5-foot (4.4-meter) saltwater crocodile at a tourist destination in Australia’s Northern Territory. (Northern Territory Dept. of Tourism, Sport and Culture via AP)

The crocs are trapped in large cages baited with wild pig and other meats and submerged in waterways.

Burke told the outlet that the average length of crocodiles that rangers trap in the Katherine River, which is closer to the sea, is about 11 feet, 8 inches.

However, Burke said one croc caught in the Katherine River three years ago measured 15.5 feet long.

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Crocodile numbers have been increasing across Australia’s tropical north since federal law made them a protected species in the early 1970s.

“They certainly are increasing (in number), and that’s part of the reason we have the management zones — to reduce the numbers in high-visitation areas so there’s less chance of interaction between salties and people,” Burke said, referring to saltwater crocs.

The captured croc had been taken to a crocodile farm to become part of a breeding program. Farmed crocodiles can be killed for their meat and leather.

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“Hopefully, it will be a little croc resort there and he’ll have a new girlfriend,” Burke told the outlet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.