Giant saltwater crocodile Bismarck is believed to have been shot near Cardwell. PHOTO CREDIT: ryanmoodyfishing.com
Giant saltwater crocodile Bismarck is believed to have been shot near Cardwell. PHOTO CREDIT: ryanmoodyfishing.com

Irwin family pay tribute to shot Cardwell croc

CROCODILE Hunter Steve Irwin's family has thanked Cardwell's community for caring so much about a large croc found shot at the seaside town, that a funeral was held in its honour.

Beloved croc "Bismarck" was farewelled in a memorial attended by more than 50 people along the Far Northern town's waterfront this morning.

The decades-old 4.5m long saltwater croc was found dead from a suspected gunshot two weeks ago.

Bismarck - also known as Fluffy or Gary - was a common sight to locals, as he swam along the Cardwell foreshore and sunned himself on the beaches.

The Irwin family - Bindi, Terri and Robert - thanked the residents of Cardwell for caring about crocodiles in a recording played by Australia Zoo representative Kelsey Engle, who attended the service.

"On behalf of our family, everyone at Australia zoo and wildlife warriors, we are so incredibly proud of you guys, but I think the person who would be most proud would be our dad," they said.

"He was so, so passionate about protecting crocodiles and making sure we had these modern day dinosaurs for the future generations.

"So on behalf of all of us, thank you for making a difference and genuinely caring.

"It's up to us to make a difference today to protect the animals for the generations, especially our apex predators.

"I believe in every single one of you to make a difference and stand up for what's right.

"We are honoured that you are considering crocodiles for your love and protection, it's just fantastic."

Cardwell local Thea Ormonde, who organised the memorial, said locals had been deeply saddened by the old reptile's slaughter.

Australia Zoo senior curator Kelsey Engle played a recording from the Irwin family at a memorial for deceased croc Bismarck in Cardwell on Saturday. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION
Australia Zoo senior curator Kelsey Engle played a recording from the Irwin family at a memorial for deceased croc Bismarck in Cardwell on Saturday. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION

Ms Ormonde fondly remembered seeing Bismarck as a child, sunning himself during fishing trips.

"My fondest memories are when I was quite young, and fishing with my father in Meunga Creek," she said.

"We'd be puttering up and down the creek and we'd see him sunning himself and he was just there."

She said she hoped the memorial would also educate people on being crocwise in croc territory.

"It was good growing up here because we are so close to nature and you don't have to look at them from behind a cage," she said.

"Without Bismarck, I believe there will be other crocodiles coming in to claim his territory, and there will be a tug of war and we need to be very vigilant."

Also speaking at the memorial was Townsville based ranger Dan Bamblett from Hands On Wildlife, and Cardwell resident Ken Parker.

Cardwell resident Thea Ormonde drops flowers into the sea in memory of Bismarck, following the memorial. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION
Cardwell resident Thea Ormonde drops flowers into the sea in memory of Bismarck, following the memorial. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION

Following the service, residents scattered flowers off the jetty in Bismarck's memory, while Elton John's famous tune Crocodile Rock played.

Young Cardwell resident Spencer Riys said he was sad that Bismarck had been killed.

"Bismarck died, and it is important to look after our crocodiles," he said.

"They are important to the environment because they help the other native animals."

Spencer Riys pats a baby saltwater crocodile at the memorial for Bismarck. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION
Spencer Riys pats a baby saltwater crocodile at the memorial for Bismarck. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION


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