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Crocodiles Shot In Search For Boy In Australia
Two crocodiles have been shot and their stomachs opened as the search continues for a missing boy who is feared dead after being taken by one of the creatures.
Police believe the boy was attacked by the reptile and taken away in a waterhole in the country's Northern Territory on Sunday.
He was swimming with friends in the Mudginberri Billabong in Kakadu National Park when they were attacked by the saltwater crocodile.
One of the boy's friends was bitten on the arm as he tried to fight the creature off.
Searches by air, land and boat continued into Monday morning around Magela Creek, which feeds the waterhole, but there has so far been no sign of the child.
A trap was set in the creek late on Monday and rangers are preparing to search the waterways by boat through the night again, although efforts will be scaled back.
Flooding due to the local monsoon season is complicating the search; the 200-metre waterway is now more than a kilometre (0.62 miles) wide.
Any crocodile longer than two metres (6.5ft) spotted in the Mudginberri Outstation can be shot.
The order was expanded from the original three metres after an examination of the bite marks on the boy's friend.
No human remains were found in the two crocodiles.
Sergeant Stephen Constable said earlier said there had not been a "croc attack around here for quite a long time".
He said: "But crocodiles are prevalent in these waters and you always have to be careful."
A spokesman for the park said the area was well signposted as a danger zone for crocodiles.
He said: "We have big croc warning signs with croc jaws and a big thing saying 'croc risk; do not swim here, do not enter'."
Saltwater crocodiles can grow to be up to seven metres and weigh more than a ton.
They are a common feature in the tropical north of Australia.
Their population has increased steadily since the introduction of laws protecting them in 1971.
Government estimates put their numbers at between 75,000 and 100,000.
The most recent fatality was in August last year, when 27-year-old Darwin man Sean Cole was taken by a 4.7-metre croc as he swam across the Mary River.
Following the latest incident the local Aboriginal people, the Mirarr, called for a cull of the reptiles around Jabiru.
Justin O'Brien, chief of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, said: "Mirrar traditional owners are saying (it's) high time to cull crocodiles."
Researchers in the country launched the world's first crocodile attack database, CrocBITE, in December.
The team, which is based at Charles Darwin University, hopes to find evidence to back up reports that attacks are on the increase.
Sunday's attack is the 11th fatality recorded this year by the team - five of them involving saltwater crocodiles.
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