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Police investigate juvenile crocodile theft from Kimberley wildlife park
An investigation is underway into the suspected theft of a baby crocodile from a popular wildlife park in northern Western Australia.
Cinnamon, 15 months old and around 40cm long, was one of several baby and juvenile crocodiles handed out during a public feeding at Broome's Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park on Friday afternoon.
Broome-based Western Australian Police Sergeant Trent Langthorn told the ABC “there were eight crocodiles which got handed around during a keeper presentation at the start of the tour
"But only seven of the crocodiles were returned."
Sergeant Langthorn said the theft had left park staff deeply upset, with the young animals requiring specialist care.
The juvenile crocodiles are a significant attraction for the wildlife park, founded by the late Broome environmentalist and documentary maker Malcolm Douglas and now run by his widow Valerie.
Amid concern for the reptile's welfare, Sergeant Langthorn added “both ourselves and the park obviously have significant concerns about the level of care that's required for a crocodile like this.
"If someone's got it in their yard or their home, if you've seen it; do the right thing and get it back to the crocodile park.
"We need to get him back to the park as soon as we can."
While the theft is unusual, a 2016 break-in at the park's former Cable Beach premises saw at least half a dozen crocodiles stolen and loosed in the tourist town.
One animal was found in a backyard swimming pool, while another was run over by a car.
Another small juvenile crocodile was found by a resident on Cable Beach and handed into authorities.
Thefts of animals from wildlife attractions are a not uncommon occurence with Sea World, Symbio Wildlife Parks and Featherdale Wildlife Park all having experienced the loss of animals in recent years.
In most, but not all, cases the animals have been recovered.
Crocodiles are illegal to keep as pets.
Anyone with information on the theft should contact Broome Police on 08 9194 0200 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Image show crocodiles from the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park engaging with children at a Broome shopping centre. Courtesy of Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park/Facebook.
14th August 2017 - City of Greater Geraldton uses microchipping to deter tree thieves
17th December 2016 - Thieves target Broome’s tropical gardens for exotic plants
29th November 2016 - Stolen pygmy marmosets recovered and returned to Symbio Wildlife Park
18th July 2013 - Australian Reptile Park offers reward for return of stolen reptiles
27th December 2012 - Birds stolen from Featherdale Wildlife Park
16th April 2012 - Stolen Sea World fairy penguin recovered
29th September 2010 - Doubts Over Future of Malcolm Douglas’ Broome wildlife parks
1st June 2010 - Endangered monkeys stolen from Wollongong zoo
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