Crocodile survey reveals Qld divide
DESPITE a general contentment with crocodile management among Queenslanders, a report released by the Queensland Government reveals a significant divide in preferred management options.
In the report based on a public survey released by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, half of almost 2000 respondents nominated a ‘balanced’ approach to management, where management is a balance between conservation and safety.
In crocodile country, the percentage isn’t much higher at 52.7 per cent, but the difference between regions becomes clearer when respondents picked between a conservationist approach and one where crocodiles are treated as dangerous animals.
In Far North Queensland, 13.87 per cent of respondents wanted management programs to treat crocodiles as dangerous animals, but in Southern Queensland only 3.5 per cent did.
The conservationist approach is much more popular in regions outside of crocodile country, with 50.33 per cent in Southern Queensland opting for conservation, while in the whole of crocodile country only 25.95 selected the same.
Conservation was more popular than treating crocodiles as dangerous animals in five of the six Queensland regions, with only respondents in Mackay, Isaac and the Whitsundays going the other way, but not by much. (16.54 per cent for conserve, 18.11 per cent for dangerous.)
Culling was unpopular, with only 3 per cent of all respondents nominating it in ‘other’.
Crocodile removal was also explored in the survey, with participants asked what they believed was the best response to the presence of a crocodile in urban areas.
Almost 70 per cent of responses in crocodile country supported leaving crocodiles alone in urban areas, but if crocodiles are aggressive the responses were heavily in favour of removing them at 76.9 per cent, but in the rest of Queensland only 58 per cent of respondents supported removing aggressive crocs from urban areas.
In crocodile country support for removal of crocodiles over 2m in urban areas fell short of majority support at 47.4 per cent, while southern Queenslanders came in at just over 20 per cent support.
Awareness of the term ‘Crocwise’ was generally very high across the state at 75 .3 per cent, and the highest (unsurprisingly) in Far North Queensland at 84.6 per cent.
Problems with the Crocwise approach arise in awareness of who to contact about a crocodile sighting. The State Government, the authority that responds to croc sightings, was the third most popular choice at 19.7 per cent, behind the local council and ‘other’ which topped out at 28 per cent.
The report has helped inform DEHP attitudes towards crocodile management.