Albino crocodile named for Michael Jackson shot dead after eating fisherman

Wildlife officials estimate Michael Jackson was between 40 and 60 years old.
By Matt Bradwell  |  Aug. 19, 2014 at 5:14 PM
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DARWIN, Australia, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- An extremely rare albino-headed crocodile named for deceased pop legend Michael Jackson was killed in Australia after he ate a fisherman in front of his wife.

The 57-year-old victim was fishing in shallow waters in the Adelaide River, about 37 miles from Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory. According to reports, the man waded into the river to untangle a fishing line when the 15-foot crocodile attacked, dragging him over 650 feet before chowing down.

Horrified, the fisherman's wife fled in search of rescuers, but Michael Jackson had already eaten most of her husband by the time they arrived. Hours later, wildlife officials tracked down the rare reptile and killed it before recovering the remains of the fisherman.

"They acted appropriately to shoot him but it's a real shame they had to do it," Adam Britton, a crocodile researcher at Charles Darwin University, told the Sydney Morning Herald

Britton described Michael Jackson as "well-known" and "well-loved," adding that "It was always a thrill when he appeared." Still, Britton explained, it was necessary to execute the crocodile.

"If a crocodile attacks someone, particularly at a place where there's a lot of tourism, and with people using boat ramps, it makes it more dangerous because that croc has figured out it can take someone and is more likely to try it again."

Park officials believe Michael Jackson was between 40 and 60 years old. Roughly one out of every 10,000 to 20,000 crocodiles are born with white coloring. As only Michael Jackson's head was white, he was even rarer.

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