Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Is that barra really worth the risk?

So, a man's been killed by a crocodile in the Adelaide River, busy sorting out his fishing line when he was grabbed: "The attack is the third this year, after a boy was taken at a billabong at Jabiru in January, and another fisherman was snatched off his boat as he emptied a bucket in a Kakadu River two months ago."
I do keep harping on about crocs in the NT but that's only because they're there, in huge numbers, they regularly attack people, and - admit it - there's nothing more violently primitive than a human being eaten by an animal. I crossed the Adelaide River just over a week ago (the pub has a stuffed water buffalo in it that starred in 'Crocodile Dundee') coming back from Kakadu, where we got close to Jabiru and saw crocs in the South Alligator River as we took a sunset cruise. (The river was mis-named by an early surveyor, who wanted to correct the mistake but was told the maps had already been printed, so you know, sorry and all that...)
Our guide on the World Expeditions trip, Dan Rose, was rather scathing as we passed over the river about the tourist operations there that feature jumping crocodiles - the boats go out on the river, and dangle chicken carcasses on the end of a stick above the water, encouraging crocs to leap out to grab the bait. I haven't done it, but I've seen video, and it is impressive - these are big crocs, and to see them powering straight up right out of the water is to be reminded of a Saturn V rocket taking off, they're so massive, and seem to move in slow motion.

The obvious disadvantage though, as Dan explained, is that this is interfering with their natural behaviour, and encouraging them to associate people with easy food. There have been increasing numbers of reports of crocodiles muscling up to fishing boats and trying to upset them - than which I can hardly imagine anything more terrifying, can you?

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