Giant white-headed crocodile shot after killing Australian fisherman

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 August, 2014, 10:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2014, 4:36am


A white-headed crocodile nicknamed Michael Jackson has been shot dead, reports said yesterday, after it apparently killed a fisherman in Australia's north.

Authorities were called in when a 57-year-old man disappeared after wading into the croc-infested Adelaide River, to disentangle his fishing line late on Monday.

Police said the man's wife was with him on the river bank but did not see the moment the animal, believed to be 4.5 metres long, attacked.

"The initial information is that she did not see him taken but [heard] a scream and then turned around and saw a tail splashing in the water," Northern Territory duty superintendent Jo Foley said.

Police later recovered partial remains of a body from the water.

The place the man was taken, some 60 kilometres from Darwin, is close to a popular spot where tourist boats go to see crocodiles, which leap out of the water to take food dangled on long poles.

It is the same river where a monster reptile known as Brutus was pictured eating a bull shark earlier this month.

"If it is Michael Jackson it'd be a very sad event," Adelaide River Queen Cruises owner Tony Blums told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation of the well-known animal.

"He's a unique half-albino. He's a very nice crocodile."

Blums said there was one crocodile for every 100 metres of river, and Michael Jackson would have been "just below the water" before he attacked.

Fellow tour operator Rob Marchand, owner of Wallaroo Tours, said crocodiles had been in the area for years and had been fighting a lot recently in the lead up to the breeding season.

"The croc has only been doing what nature intends it to do, and that's survive," he told ABC.

Crocodiles are common in Australia's tropical north. Their numbers have increased steadily since the introduction of protection laws in 1971, with government estimates putting the population at 75,000 to 100,000.