Just when you thought Australia couldn’t get any more terrifying…this happens.
Australia’s crocodiles have been a constant source of fear and fascination for foreigners. Relics of the dinosaur age, they’re stealthy, merciless and powerful.
And while we’ve been getting along alright the past couple of decades, it seems as though things have started to take a slightly darker turn recently.
You’ve probably noticed that croc attack stories are popping up in the news a fair bit more.
There was of course the story of the Queensland teenager who had the
actul dumbest idea any human being has ever had romantic plan of jumping into croc-infested waters and getting predictably attacked by the crocs who infest the waters.
(He survived, thus disproving Darwin’s theory of evolution).
Just a week after, there was another north Queensland attack – a 35-year-old spear fisherman killed 200 meters off the ocean shore by a four-metre croc.
Further south, a crocodile attacked a dog on private property on the Capricorn Coast in a dam where crocs had almost never been seen before.
Over in the Northern Territory in January, there was another man who was killed in Cahill’s Crossing in Kakadu.
While at least one of these can be put down to human stupidity, human stupidity levels have always been pretty high – and the numbers show that attacks are on the rise.
In the 1970s, there was an average of .5 croc attacks every year – but after just four months, we’re already at three, at least.
First he took us on a crocodile tour with Daintree River Wildlife Cruises, and we can confirm the crocs are freaking HUGE.
Pete came over here when he was in his early 20s and never left. He ran a kayak company but had to close it down because of fears of incident with increasingly confident crocodiles.
He explained that “there’s been a massive influx of sightings and crocodiles with no fear of man…it’s kind of getting to boiling point.”
Pete puts it down to “the fact that we haven’t hunted them for a while and they’re fully protected, and they’ve probably been watching us for a while now – watching and learning and now, taking advantage where they can.”
In 1974, crocodiles were nearly hunted to extinction but became a protected species in that year.
Since then croc populations have increased from 5000 to 75,000 so it makes sense then, that an apex predator that’s been allowed to resume its place at the top has naturally become more of a threat.
Pete was quite insistent that he’s not advocating for culling, but stressed that this is the new reality that tourism operators have to deal with, and local government regulations need to adapt to that (though that’s perhaps a discussion for another time).
So there you have it, crocs are getting bigger and more aggressive because we’ve let them. Whether or not this will create problems for local populations it’s too early to say – but for now, just don’t do anything stupid, okay?