Wildlife ranger taken by crocodile in northern Australia

AP, AFP-JIJI

A wildlife ranger was killed by a crocodile Friday in Australia’s Northern Territory.

The indigenous woman was attacked in a remote location 206 kilometers (128 miles) southwest of the indigenous community of Yirrkala.

Her body later was recovered by police.

Police said she had been fishing “waist-deep” in a river with her family in remote Arnhem Land when she was taken. A family member noticed her missing after hearing some splashing.

Her body and the crocodile were found less than a kilometer from the scene, Northern Territory Police said. The crocodile was destroyed by local indigenous rangers.

Police said it was not yet clear what type of crocodile had taken the woman.

Australia is home to freshwater and saltwater crocodiles, with the more feared “salties” growing up to 7 meters long.

Saltwater crocodile numbers have exploded since they were declared a protected species in 1971, with recent attacks reigniting debate about controlling them.

They kill an average of two people each year in Australia.

The last fatal crocodile attack in Australia was October last year, when 79-year-old dementia patient Anne Cameron was killed after wandering from a nursing home at Port Douglas in Queensland state.

Crocodiles have been a protected species in Australia since the 1970s, which has led to an explosion in their population across the country’s tropical north. Because saltwater crocodiles can live up 70 years and grow throughout their lives, the proportion of large crocodiles is also rising.