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Croc a shock catch at Mundubbera

Steve Brooks from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry was stunned when he caught a freshwater crocodile in Mundubbera, west of Maryborough.
Steve Brooks from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry was stunned when he caught a freshwater crocodile in Mundubbera, west of Maryborough. Department Of Agriculture Fisheries And Forestry

STRANDED 1000km from home, a crocodile found at Mundubbera would have eaten fish, frogs and flying foxes to survive.

Staff from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry found the croc at Mundubbera's Jones Weir last week while carrying out lungfish research.

After they released an electric charge into the water, a large, stunned reptile floated to the surface of the Burnett River.

The fisheries officers were almost as shocked as the crocodile, but quickly taped up its mouth and legs so it could not snap and bundled it into the boat.

Unlike the saltwater croc found in the Mary River earlier this year, it is believed the male freshwater was brought into the area by humans.

Mundubbera Anglers Fish Stocking Association president Kyle Gleich said the weir was a commonly used fishing spot but he had not seen anything to suggest it might be home to a crocodile.

"I'd heard rumours about one being there but when I heard they really caught one, I didn't believe it at first," he said.

Despite living in much cooler conditions than it would normally, the crocodile appears to be healthy.

"It is likely the crocodile had been released there at some time," Department of Environment and Heritage Protection wildlife manager Mike Devery said.

"We have had a number of incidents where freshwater crocodiles have been found that had probably been acquired as pets and then the owners decided they didn't want it and let it go."

A half-metre freshwater croc was found in a ditch near Bundaberg Airport in February 2009, which was widely assumed to have been abandoned there by someone who had illegally kept it.

Another small crocodile was found at Greenbank in February 2009, under similar circumstances.

Mr Devery said fines of up to $10,000 would apply to anyone who moved a freshwater crocodile from its natural environment or tried to keep it as a pet.

Following health checks, the animal will be offered to a crocodile farm or zoo.

It cannot be released to the wild because it may have contracted diseases from its time outside its native area in Northern Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Topics:  crocodile mundubbera

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