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Someone shot an alpha crocodile dead in QLD, now authorities are worried his death will create a ‘power vacuum’

Other crocodiles could become increasingly violent as they fight it out for the top spot.

By Erin Cook

Welcome to Australia, where the rivers are (sometimes) filled with crocodiles, spiders grow bigger than your head and if you’re not careful, there could be shark in your local public swimming pool.

Recently, a 5.2 metre crocodile was shot dead by an unknown member of the public near Rockhampton, Queensland.

For some, the death of this big ol’ crocodile might sound like a good thing. But in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Allow us to explain…

Michael Joyce, Biodiversity operations director at the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection told the ABC that this 5.2 metre crocodile used to keep the river in check: "Being a 5.2 metre animal, he's actually learnt to be very shy of people so someone might see him and report that, but actually getting onto him and seeing him is quite challenging."

Now that this big boy is gone, other crocodiles are likely to become more aggressive as they fight it out for the top spot. Speaking to the ABC, Joyce said: "They will be competing to take the dominant position which is now vacant. I cannot stress strongly enough the need for all river users to be aware of the risks."

Police are searching for the offenders who shot the 5.2m crocodile. If found guilty, they could face up to three years behind bars or a $28 000 fine.