An amaz­ing span of time

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - OPINION -

CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS to John “Cop” Hingley on his 103rd birth­day yes­ter­day. What a feat.

The stretch of time is hard to com­pre­hend, even for those of us with a few years be­hind us. Cop was born at the start of WWI and has seen out all of that tu­mul­tuous cen­tury, in­clud­ing his ser­vice in WWII, and all the years since, well into a new cen­tury.

He re­mains a cheer­ful and witty man to talk to and is with­out ques­tion a trea­sure of the com­mu­nity.

RE­PORTS of a croc­o­dile killing a cas­sowary near Thorn­ton Beach are more than just a colour­ful tale.

It re­minds us that these preda­tors can have an im­pact on other species that we re­gard as highly valu­able and also en­dan­gered – in fact en­dan­gered to a de­gree that croc­o­diles clearly are no longer.

A few weeks ago a croc­o­dile was seen eat­ing a tur­tle off Wonga Beach.

The big croc that killed Cindy Wal­ton at Thorn­ton Beach last year was known to fre­quent Struck Is­land as a source of tur­tles.

Of course croc­o­diles have al­ways preyed on other species but what if their num­bers are ex­plod­ing now be­cause noth­ing is prey­ing on the pro­tected croc­o­dile species?

The over pro­tected croc­o­dile may be an­other case of na­ture now out of whack due to man’s good in­ten­tions.

On a dif­fer­ent point, it’s in­ter­est­ing also that it seems an­other very large croc has moved into the “va­cant” patch at Cooper Creek once ruled by the croc be­hind the fa­tal at­tack at Thorn­ton Beach.

The pre­vi­ous dom­i­nant, put down af­ter the at­tack, had a harem of six (lo­cal lore now be­lieves it’s five) fe­males and com­pletely ruled the creek.

With large num­bers of crocs on Cape York, that at­trac­tive spot is not go­ing to be unat­tended for too long.

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