Two species of crocodile are found in the waters of northern Western Australia:
Australian freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni),endemic to Australia
Saltwater or estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), widespread in the Indo-Pacific region, from northern Australia, across Southeast Asia, to India and Palau.
The Australian saltwater crocodile population was significantly reduced between 1945 and 1970 due to unregulated hunting for their skins. About 300,000 animals were killed during this period, mostly in the Northern Territory, and about 25,000 in Western Australia, and there were concerns the species might not recover.
In 1970, Western Australia became the first state to legally protect the species.
Parks and Wildlife management aims to reduce the risk of crocodile attack and ensure crocodiles are conserved in the wild.
Commercial crocodile farming is provided for, where appropriate, but commercial harvest of crocodiles or their eggs from the wild is not permitted.
In two Crocodile Risk Mitigation Areas, around Lake Kununurra and Broome, Parks and Wildlife will respond to reports of crocodile sightings and, if a crocodile is found, take the most appropriate action, based on the assessed level of risk to public safety.
Translocation of large saltwater crocodiles to a new location in the wild is not considered a viable option for crocodile management because the animal is likely to return to where it was captured. Therefore, crocodiles that pose a risk to public safety may be trapped and relocated to a crocodile farm, wildlife park or zoo, or where this is not possible, humanely destroyed.