May 24, 2024

Wildlife officers have euthanised a large crocodile believed to have killed a 16-year-old boy in the Torres Strait last week.

The teenager, and a 13-year-old boy, reportedly attempted to swim back to Saibai Island from a broken-down dinghy early Thursday morning last week, Queensland police said, with the younger boy making it to safety.

Wildlife officers located the four-metre animal responsible during spotlight searches on Friday night near where the boy died and it was killed on Saturday, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation.

“The crocodile was humanely euthanised early on 20 April 2024 and disposed of at sea, in keeping with the wishes of the Saibai Island community,” the spokesperson said.

“Community members expressed their appreciation for the rapid response to the incident.”

The spokesperson said the crocodile displayed “parading behaviour” such as raising its head as it swam, “which is consistent with it being the target animal”.

Saibai Island has a population of 338, according to the 2021 census. It is about 4km south of the Papua New Guinea mainland.

Thursday Island water police conducted a search and rescue operation after the alarm was raised about the 16-year-old at about 4am on Thursday. They discovered his body later that day.

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