Friday, 3 October 2008
Charley and his mates...
This week my daughter sent me this e-mail. She lives in Queenland and not far from Cooktown.
Crocodiles have been sighted near where Arthur John Booker disappeared on the Endeavour River, just out of Cooktown, yesterday.
The crocodiles were spotted by the Environmental Protection Agency conducting a survey of the area the evening after the 62-year-old man's disappearance.
"We did identify a couple of crocodiles in the area. One immediately downstream from the boat ramp and a larger animal further downstream about 200 metres," says James Newman, EPA Regional Manager for Cape York and Savannah.
Mr Booker had been staying at the Endeavour River Escape. In the morning he went out to check crab pots he had on the banks of the river but did not return.
Mr Booker's wife, Doris as well as other campers began searching for the Vietnam veteran before calling the police around 10 o'clock.
It is currently nesting season for crocodiles.
"Nesting season starts around September and obviously, if there is a female around here, she will be very protective of her nest," says Mr Newman.
Inspector Ian Swan says items belonging to Mr Booker were found on the banks of the river and in the water.
"Late yesterday afternoon we did locate some property," he says. "At the bottom of the river when the tide went we located the male person's watch and a further 100 metres downstream we located a sandal which also has been positively identified as the missing person's."
A video camera was also found near one of Mr Booker's crab pots. The rope on the crab pot had been severed but police say this wasn't done by knife.
Today, a team of 13, including EPA Crocodile Biologist, Scott Sullivan, are investigating where Mr Booker disappeared. One State Emergency Service boat is being used. Work began at 8 am.
Locals had seen crocodiles in the river prior to Mr Booker's disappearance. One crocodile, in particular, is known to live in the river.
"Charlie does live in this waterway," Mr Newman says. "Charlie is a large crocodile. I think he's about 4.8 metres,"
Mr Newman says Charlie was 'tagged' last year by the EPA and is 'considered docile'. The team does have a crocodile trap with them but won't deploy it 'until necessary'.
The EPA gave a briefing before the search began today, urging SES volunteers and police officers to be 'croc-wise'.
"We will be looking in the water today and having a look at the bottom to see if they can't pull anything off the bottom and so we need to make sure that they are safe during the search," Mr Newman says. "So what we are doing is making sure someone is holding their belt at all times when they're leaning over the boat."
click to enlarge.BTW This is not Charley! See also photos in sidebar.
Did you know that the Australian saltwater crocodiles are found in most estuaries of coastal, tropical Australia but can live quite successfully in freshwater streams and billabongs.Their diet consists of native animals and birds, but also cattle, horses, dogs and even men. They pull their prey into the water to drown, where they leave it for some time to decompose before eating.
Some time ago a party of some people were camping on the beach where they had a "barbie". They left some of the food on the beach and a croc was attracted to it. He went, however further and entered one of the tents, where he grabbed one of the men by his leg and tried to pull him out of the tent. Everybody woke up by the screams of the poor man. His mother came to help him, but the croc grabbed her, then another man came with his gun and killed the beast. It was an enormous creature, by the looks of it. I saw the photos!!
Well the croc on the photoslide is a different one of course, but no less ferocious.
A female croc lays about 40 eggs in a prepared mound of grass on a riverbank.
For more exciting Camera Critters, click on the logo in the sidebar. Thank you so much Misty Dawn!