Queensland wildlife authorities are examining two crocodiles following last week’s disappearance of a holidaymaker in the state’s far north.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set five traps on the Endeavour River near Cooktown late last week, in a bid to capture a crocodile that may have killed Arthur Booker.
The Vietnam veteran from Logan, south of Brisbane, vanished after he left a camp site to check crab pots on the river bank on Tuesday.
A four-day search failed to find any signs of the 62-year-old, other than two sandals and his wristwatch.
The EPA’s Mike Devery today told AAP that a 4.3 metre male crocodile was captured late last night, and a 2.3 metre animal, its sex yet to be confirmed, was caught early this morning.
An endoscopy of the larger crocodile had failed to determine whether it had killed Booker, so it will be x-rayed tomorrow.
Authorities will tonight induce the smaller croc to regurgitate its stomach contents, a method only effective with smaller crocodiles.
Devery said the larger crocodile had concerned authorities when he displayed threatening behaviour – such as not swimming away from boats and swimming on the surface – when they were searching the river last week.
“This particular animal over the last few days of searching did demonstrate territorial behaviour that we regarded, for croc management purposes, as behaviour where we would remove it,” he said.
While some experts blamed a crocodile nicknamed Charlie for Booker’s disappearance, Devery said the larger croc caught last night was a more likely suspect.
“It’s really too early to extrapolate,” he said. “The cause for that behaviour may have been just the search itself.
“Charlie wasn’t an animal that we had cause to be concerned about.”
Police suspended the search for Booker on Friday but have asked wildlife authorities to check the stretch of river twice a day.
The EPA says trapped crocodiles will not be harmed or killed, but most likely relocated to another remote river system or held in captivity while examined.
Queensland Environment Minister Andrew McNamara has already dismissed calls for a crocodile culling program.