Hunt for killer after ‘iconic’ 17-foot crocodile is killed by a shot in the head

A 5.2-metre male crocodile was found in Queensland, Australia with a single gunshot wound to the head, sparking a hunt for the killer (AFP Photo/STR)

Police are hunting for a killer who shot an ‘iconic’ 17-foot crocodile in the head – amid warnings that the death may lead to other crocodiles becoming ‘more aggressive’.

The 100-year-old crocodile was found floating along the Fitzroy River in Queensland – and experts believe he may have been killed ‘for a thrill’.

Animal experts warned that the death of the alpha male crocodile may lead to increased aggression from younger males in the area.

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Michael Joyce, the biodiversity operations director at the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said, ‘People need to clearly understand the death of this animal has changed the balance of the crocodile population in the Fitzroy and we can expect increased aggressive activity by younger male crocodiles.’

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‘That’s because they will be competing to take the dominant position which is now vacant. I cannot stress strongly enough the need for all river users to be aware of the risks.’

Local animal safety experts say they believe the killing may have been motivated by ‘thrills’.

The killer could face up to three years in jail under the Animal Cruelty act.

Acting Detective Inspector Luke Peachey said, ‘What we are doing is asking anyone with any information or knowledge on the cause of death of this animal to contact Rockhampton CIB and Crime Stoppers.’

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