Crocodile responsible for Death of Young Boy Identified

The parents of Jeremy Doble, the young boy who was attacked and eaten by an Estuarine crocodile have declared that they don’t want the crocodile killed by the Australian authorities.

The attack took place on February 8th as Jeremy played with his seven-year-old brother and pet dog in flooded swampland adjacent to the Daintree River in Queensland.  The Daintree river and rain-forest is a world heritage site but the river has a high density of Estuarine crocodiles and these huge reptiles have a reputation for being man-eaters.  The Estuarine or Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the largest species of crocodile and the biggest reptile species on the planet.  Mature adults can reach lengths in excess of 6 metres, any crocodile bigger than 2 metres is considered a potential man-eater.

Nobody witnessed the actual attack, but Ryan saw a crocodile shortly after his brother had disappeared and Steve Doble, the boy’s father, ran into the water trying to save his son when he heard screams.  Steve Doble operates a tourist and trekking company and the family were used to seeing large crocodiles in the area.  The threat of an attack was always there, Saltwater crocodiles like most species of large crocodile are ambush predators and unfortunately, a number of fatal crocodile attacks are reported each year.

This incident was the second such occurrence in the Daintree area in recent months.  A man was eaten by a large crocodile on the Endeavour river just north of the Daintree.  One shoe, a camera and some crocodile slide marks were found on the spot where the man disappeared.  A hunt was launched by the local law enforcement agencies and a large crocodile trapped which when examined revealed the human remains inside its stomach.

After the attack on Jeremy, the authorities launched a large-scale search for the predator.  Two crocodiles were caught, one male and a female.  The female when x-rayed showed no human remains, however, the male croc was proved to be the culprit.

The boy’s parents have specifically asked authorities not to kill the animal.  Instead, it will be sent to a crocodile farm or zoo but will not be put on public display.   Crocodiles that measure over 4 metres long had been seen in the area and one of these creatures is more than capable of overpowering a human being.  It is very sad to hear of this news, unfortunately as the numbers of crocodiles increase and they have more contact with people, such incidents are likely to occur.  To a crocodile a person is another item of prey and there have been calls for another cull of large crocodiles in the area.

The population of Estuarine crocodiles in Australia fell dramatically in the 19th and early 20th Century due to hunting.  However, protection and conservation schemes running since the 1970’s has permitted the crocodile population to increase.  Australians seem to have a love – hate relationship with their crocodile species.  Only a few days ago we reported on a new exhibit, a showcase of crocodilian evolution being opened at Darwin.

To view this article: Crocodile Exhibition opens to celebrate Darwin’s Birth.

It seems that having such magnificent creatures sharing your neighbourhood has some very serious drawbacks and unfortunately, there is little evidence to suggest that crocodiles can be successfully deterred from making such attacks.