Sal­ties ‘get­ting cheeky’

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - RICHARD KOSER

BEACH­SIDE res­i­dents claim lo­cal croc­o­diles are get­ting “cheeky” and need to be con­trolled.

Anec­do­tal re­ports sug­gest croc­o­diles have be­come more preva­lent and ac­tive in the re­gion, par­tic­u­larly around Wonga Beach where two dogs have been taken by sal­ties in re­cent months.

Pin­na­cle Vil­lage van park man­ager Daryl Tenni said “they’re def­i­nitely hang­ing around”.

“They’re def­i­nitely get­ting cheeky,” he said.

“We all know there’s a big one at Hel­lens Creek, it tore a big dog in half.

“We’ve got a 10-footer that’s been hang­ing around the park for a while.

“We’ve seen his tracks, walk­ing straight through the park from the beach en­trance to the man­groves near the es­planade.”

Lo­cal fish­er­man “Scrub­ber” Har­ris said he knew of sev­eral crocs mea­sur­ing at least 4m in lo­cal creeks and rivers, in­clud­ing the Mow­bray.

“The big ones have been get­ting game over the last three or four years,” he said.

“That one in Hellen’s Creek is a nasty one, a long skinny green one, at least 16ft.

“The one at Rocky Point, he’s been chas­ing peo­ple along the beach.”

The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Re­source Man­age­ment told the Gazette this week it had not re­ceived any re­ports of ag­gres­sive croc­o­diles in lo­cal waters this year.

“The depart­ment has not re­ceived re­ports of croc­o­diles ’chas­ing jog­gers’ or ’chew­ing up dogs’, nor is there any ev­i­dence of in­creased num­ber of croc­o­diles this year com­pared with pre­vi­ous years,” a state­ment from the depart­ment said.

DERM says it will act im­me­di­ately to trap and re­move all “croc­o­diles of concern” if they are re­ported.

Mr Tenni urged DERM to be more proac­tive in con­trol­ling croc­o­diles around pop­u­lated ar­eas.

“The Dain­tree River, fair enough, you ex­pect to see crocs there,” he said. “But when they’re hang­ing around pub­lic beaches and boat ramps, you need to start knock­ing them on the head.

“In­stead of putting out warn­ing signs, why not just put out a trap?”

It ap­pears some vis­i­tors to the beach are help­ing the crocs grow ac­cus­tomed to hang­ing around pop­u­lar fish­ing spots.

One reader re­ported to the Gazette nine large fish frames were dis­carded at the Rocky Point boat ramp this week, and it is a reg­u­lar com­plaint.

If you want to let DERM know about a prob­lem croc­o­dile, fill out a re­port on www.derm.qld.gov.au.

PHOTO BY NEIL WEAVERS

Get­ting cheeky: lo­cal fi­fish­er­man Scrub­ber Har­ris reck­ons crocs have be­come a prob­lem

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