Croc­o­dile nest given priority

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Chris Cal­cino

A LARGE salt­wa­ter croc­o­dile has been given free rein to hatch eggs on a cane farm near Moss­man de­spite its chief swim­ming route pass­ing within 80m of a home.

Liza Gi­u­dice’s re­peated at­tempts to have the rep­tile and its nest re­moved from her property have fallen flat.

Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion wildlife of­fi­cers vis­ited the site but deemed it to be low risk.

“As the nest is on pri­vate property with lim­ited po­ten­tial for pub­lic ac­cess, the risk to mem­bers of the pub­lic was found to be low and a de­ci­sion was made not to re­lo­cate the an­i­mal and its eggs,” said a let­ter from the depart­ment.

Wildlife of­fi­cers erected signs warn­ing of a re­cent croc­o­dile sight­ing along the fence 20m from the nest and on the in­ner bound­ary of the nearby Moss­man golf course.

But the croc­o­dile and its brood — ex­pected to hatch in mid-May — will re­main. Ms Gi­u­dice, who has young chil­dren, was ap­palled by the re­sponse.

“The croc­o­dile nest is about 60m from my hus­band’s flood­gate. He has to hop into the wa­ter to do any main­te­nance or re­pairs on it,” she said.

“At this point, I would not be happy with my hus­band do­ing the rou­tine main­te­nance he needs to do on our farm.”

Ms Gi­u­dice said the drain also lead­ing to the nest passed within about 80m of her neigh­bour’s doorstep.

“He has stressed that he’s not happy ei­ther. He can’t go out at night and he can’t let his dog out at night,” she said.

“The re­sponse has been ‘don’t touch it, leave it as it is and we will put up a sign’.”

The drain also runs along the back of the Moss­man Golf Club. Fe­male es­tu­ar­ine croc­o­diles reach sex­ual ma­tu­rity at about 2.2m length.

Ms Gi­u­dice had vis­ited the nest only once, but said of­fi­cers con­firmed it was ac­tive. “I’m too afraid to go down there,” she said.

Pic­ture: SCOTT TIBBALLS

Ja­bal­bina busi­ness man­ager Anthony Czy­gan with rangers Dan­ica Beveen Reisener, Rickie Burchill and Nigel Min­niecon.

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