Mark Norman measures a dead 4.1 metre saltwater croc found dead in the Proserpine River.
Mark Norman measures a dead 4.1 metre saltwater croc found dead in the Proserpine River.

Mystery surrounds death of monster croc

AFTER the death of a monster crocodile seen struggling in the Proserpine River, environmentalists are outraged authorities couldn't save the animal.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) confirmed wildlife officers received a report of a crocodile "possibly caught in a rope underwater" on Saturday.

A spokeswoman said the Department had responded - although the exact nature of the action undertaken was not clear.

She said the 4.1-metre crocodile was submerged under a rising tide and "there was nothing that could be done".

The carcass of the male crocodile washed up on the banks of Goorganga Creek, south-east of Proserpine, on Wednesday.

Whitsunday Crocodile Safari guide Mark Norman posted a photo of the dead croc on Facebook, saying the reptile still had a rope tied to its tail.

"At first I thought it may have been illegally killed, but I have since learned that this crocodile was reported a few days ago having been found struggling with rope caught up around it," he wrote. "I ran the tape measure over him, and he was 4.1 metres."

Since then, other Facebook users have reported seeing the reptile struggling in the water on Saturday.

Whitsunday Fauna Rescue Association volunteer Liza Sparke said "an extremely concerned member of the public" made a report to them when the animal was still alive.

She then informed the DEHP.

"I was assured they (the DEHP) would act on it and I made it clear I would follow up later and I stressed no less than three times, the urgency due to the tide coming in," Ms Sparke said.

"At this point I was optimistic that appropriate action would be taken in reasonable time. I had another call later from the original people that reported the situation to say that things were not looking good, that the croc's head was now underwater and there were bubbles presenting on the water surface."

Mr Norman is on the river every day and said if the croc had managed to tangle itself in the rope of a crab pot "it is a very unusual situation for this to happen".

"That is a very strange thing and I don't know how on earth it got like that, it's very unusual," he said.

Mr Norman had also reported the incident to the DEHP and was talking to someone yesterday who he hoped would be able to shed some light on the mystery.

Wildlife officers reminded people to remove fishing nets, lines and rope from waterways.

Crocodiles were nearly hunted to the point of extinction for the use of their hides in the Proserpine River until they became protected in 1974.