Four as-yet unidentified men broke into Taminmin College at Humpty Doo early on Sunday morning, dumping the three female crocodiles and ransacking the front office. David Gregory, a senior constable from NT police, said the crocodiles had their mouths taped up.
Saltwater crocodiles are a protected species and interfering with them is a criminal offence.
Ranger Luke McLaren told ABC local radio on Monday morning that the crocodiles were in poor physical condition.
“Basically skin and bones, not much meat left on them; they were really quiet and easy to catch,” he said.
“Really poor skin condition, like they haven’t been kept in water for quite a while, haven’t been fed, and one of them looked to be blind [as a result of neglect].”
It is believed the crocodiles came from a crocodile farm, he said.
“We’ll determine what farm they’re from and we’ll try to take them back to that farm but looking at their condition it’s likely they’ll have to be destroyed,” McLaren said.
Police are calling for public assistance to identify the four men captured on CCTV.
People caught interfering with protected wildlife face fines of up to $77,000 or a jail term of up to five years.