Kakadu's iconic croc retires

25 August 2006.

One of Kakadu's most famous saltwater crocodiles, affectionately known by traditional owners and Territorians as 'Eric', has been relocated from his home at Cahill's Crossing on the East Alligator River.

Eric is a very large 4.2 metre male saltie, believed to be about 50 years old, who's been boss croc at Cahill's Crossing for more than 20 years.

He is one of Kakadu's 'identity crocs', well-known to Kakadu visitors – especially anglers.

"We all feel a sense of loss that old man Eric is coming to the end of his days," Kakadu's crocodile expert Garry Lindner said today.

"He is ageing rapidly and his physical condition is deteriorating. He has lost 50cm from his tail – probably in a fight with another big male croc – and his tail is lean and his gut a bit hollow. He has lost a lot of teeth and is probably finding it harder and harder to feed, let alone defend himself.

"That probably explains his recent aggressive behaviour towards people. Over the past few weeks he's become more of a risk, approaching and nudging fishing boats and stalking visitors fishing at or near the crossing."

Traditional owners and park rangers decided the most humane outcome for Eric was his relocation.

In the early hours of Friday morning, Eric was captured upstream of Cahill's Crossing and late today he will be moved to his new retirement home at Crocodylus Park in Darwin.

Eric will be moved under provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, which allows for protected animals to be removed from the park where it is necessary to relieve or prevent suffering or where it is necessary to prevent a risk to human health.

"We're all going to miss Eric," Garry Lindner said. "He's a legend in this park, a real character who has guarded Cahill's Crossing for so long. But he was on the downhill run, and it's the end of his reign.

"The old man will now live out his days in Crocodylus Park, which is good for Eric because there is no retirement in the wild. He'll be well cared for – and probably a prime tourist attraction for Darwin."

Media contact: Margot Marshall 0418 624 847