A saltwater crocodile has fatally mauled a pet dog near Kununurra, just a week after a woman was attacked in the area.
The 4m animal attacked the dog while the owner was fishing off the southeast edge of the Ivanhoe Crossing about 3.30pm on Monday, sparking a warning from the Parks and Wildlife Service.
The location, 14km south of the Kimberley town, is a known saltwater crocodile habitat that has been increasing in population.
In a Facebook post, the service warned saltwater crocodiles are “ambush predators that can stalk their prey and attack quickly without warning”.
The post went on to warn that high risk recreational activities had been observed at the attack site, including people wading through the water on the crossing, recreational fishing, and children swimming.
Large warning signs are in place on both sides of the crossing, on the roadside and at the boat ramp, as well as additional temporary signage installed after the attack.
All visitors have been “strongly” advised to stay vigilant: “Stay away from the water’s edge, supervise children and pets, and do not swim at or wade across Ivanhoe Crossing”.
It comes after a 38-year-old woman was attacked by a crocodile while on a flotation device at Lake Argyle’s Butler Cove near Kununurra on May 2 and left with serious leg injuries.
The 2-2.5m freshwater crocodile was seen in the area soon after the attack on the woman and the following day it was spotted again when staff from the Parks and Wildlife Service patrolled the area, with the animal approaching and interacting with their vessel.
“Both the behavior of a crocodile approaching the boat and the events of the previous day is consistent with what staff would identify as a problem animal,” a Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions spokesperson said at the time.
“In order to ensure public safety in the popular recreation and swimming area … staff destroyed the animal.”
After the attack, tourism operator Lake Argyle Cruises spoke out after the attack, said the popular swimming spot was “home to a number of freshwater crocodiles who are not usually considered dangerous and have been co-habituating with people to the lake for decades”.
“Our sympathies are with our customer who in a very rare incident, was bitten by a freshwater crocodile,” she said.
A year ago six-year-old Abraham Manning was bitten by a freshwater crocodile at Kununurra’s Swim Beach.
The boy was knee-deep at the swimming spot along the upper Ord River when a 2m crocodile came up from under the water and bit him on his left leg, leaving behind about seven puncture wounds on his calf and heel.