• Rangers and traditional owners have warned about water safety after video was released of a woman scaring a saltwater crocodile away with a thong. (AAP)Source: AAP
A four-metre saltwater crocodile lurking a few metres away is enough to scare even the best of us but the tables were turned when an Aboriginal woman at Cahill’s Crossing in the Northern Territory frightened the saltie away with a slap of her thong.
By
Karina Marlow

Source:
AAP
4 Oct 2016 - 12:23 PM  UPDATED 4 Oct 2016 - 12:23 PM

The footage, captured by local crocodile enthusiast Lyndon Anlezark shows the women and her dog confront the croc at the crossing on the East Alligator River, a well-known feeding ground.

"A lady turns up with a small dog, it sets the instinct off immediately in the crocodile… one crocodile went straight over another crocodile and straight towards her," Mr Anlezark told the ABC.

"We could have had a death there that day, you don't go near the crossing with small children especially, and definitely not with animals at all."

The crocodiles are particular active at the end of the dry season and congregate at the Crossing to feast on fish, often drawing a crowd of onlookers. A recent survey counted almost 130 crocs in the 6km upstream from Cahill’s Crossing, with between 80,000 and 100,000 crocodiles residing in the Top End.

Northern Territory rangers and traditional owners were both concerned by the footage and called for greater safety around waterways.

Attacks seem to be increasing with 2014 breaking the record for the highest number of fatal crocodile attacks in the Northern Territory.

The majority of recent deaths have been put down to negligent behaviour in crocodile-infested waters with more people out on the waterways mix with high crocodile numbers.

Rangers have been trying to get the CrocWise Message across as best as possible reminding people to ‘stay away from the water; don’t put your hands near the water, and use hooks or nets to retrieve fish from the water.’

Gary Lindner, the Kakadu crocodile management supervisor says rangers and Aboriginal elders are getting frustrated with the foolhardy behaviour of tourists and locals.

"(We're) still reminding people, particularly with fisherman or people that are intoxicated," he told ABC Radio. "The lure of catching a barramundi overrides the safety mechanism in the brain."

Senior ranger and traditional owner Jonathan Nadji was a witness to the only fatal attack at the crossing, which happened in 1987 and is worried that another tragedy is only a matter of time.

"I see a lot of stupidity, people not thinking," he told the ABC

Mr Nadji is among a number of people calling for another viewing platform on the western side of the river.

"We can put a platform like this on the other side and also that can be a fishing spot and all that because a lot of people tend to go and fish off the rocks and that's where a lot of the crocs hang around," he said

Crocodile expert Dr Adam Britton, a researcher at Charles Darwin University, told AAP alcohol is frequently involved when attacks occur.

"People up here love to have a drink, we all do. It's hot, and humid and nothing beats a nice cold beer," he said. "It doesn't mean that people shouldn't get out on the boat and start cracking a few tinnies. But you need to keep a bit of common sense about you."

Dr Britton says nothing will stop some people from wading into the water and putting their lives at risk. "There's always going to be someone doing something silly, it's just human nature to push the envelope," he said.

"But (another platform) will reduce the risk for other people when they have more safe options."

The warning comes after another video was released showing a teenage boy being injured by a freshwater crocodile while swimming in a Kimberley gorge last Thursday.