A screen grab of veteran crocodile hunter Mick Pitman.

Sydney - A former illegal crocodile poacher- turned hunter is stalking a problem predator believed to be the largest in the world, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Tuesday.

Veteran crocodile hunter Mick Pitman, known as Crocodile Mick, is stalking a problem crocodile on cattle station near the Mary River – one of the most dense places on earth for saltwater crocodiles - in Australia’s Northern Territory.

“If he’s over 5.5 meters, which we’re banking on by the looks of him, he’ll be a world record,” Pitman said.

“This guy, he’s at the point in his life where he doesn’t like anybody.”

Station manager Adrian Phillips told the ABC attacks on his cattle by problem crocodiles were astronomical, up to 50 000 Australian dollars (36 759 US dollars) per month.

Phillips said he can’t get water for his cattle on the farm for fear of his life from the world record croc.

“The problem there is where he is, where we’ve got to pump water, so our cattle don’t drink there… but we can’t go and pump the water because he’ll come up and try and chew your [buttocks] when you’re pumping the water.”

Crocodiles are a protected species in Australia; therefore hunting them is illegal without special permits.

Around 600 crocodiles are shot under permit in the Northern Territory every year, because they pose a danger to humans or livestock.

Pitman, who has recently launched a new business taking tourists on crocodile hunting safaris, now only kills problem crocodiles on the cattle station.

“We’re not out here just slaughtering animals, we’re out taking animals that are actually taking live stock and causing threats to humans and dogs as well,” Pitman said.

Pitman, who has permits to kill 30 crocodiles in the Northern Territory during Australia’s dry season, said the tourists must be professional hunters and would only be able to stand beside and watch him pull the trigger.

This scheme was largely criticised in Australia’s parliament when it was suggested tourists would pay up to 30 000 Australian dollars (22 050 US dollars) to bag a crocodile, bringing much needed revenue into Australia’s remote indigenous communities.

Xinhua