Science head backs crocodile removals
OPINIONS are divided about a move to toughen crocodile management in the Douglas Shire as the head of a prominent scientific research centre throws her support behind removing larger animals.
Reef and Rainforest Research Centre managing director Sheriden Morris said human intervention boosted the size of crocodiles and now it was time to bring the ecological balance back.
“I do support management of the population because we have potentially changed the architecture of the population,” she said.
“We have changed the potential food source with crocodiles through the introduction of feral pigs and cattle, which would enable larger animals to have higher densities.”
She said the Douglas Shire Council’s move for stricter removal guidelines should become more widespread.
“I think we have to be much more alert with the presence of crocodiles in the saltwater of our marine playground, which is the basis of the Cairns econ- omy,” she said.
But Solar Whisper Daintree River Crocodile and Wildlife Cruises owner David White disagrees.
He believes more education and investment in designated swimming areas, such as rock pools and stronger stinger nets, is the answer to calming people’s crocodile fears.
“The crocodile population is returning to what it was prehunting. As they get bigger they want more territory and they are spreading out into places they haven’t been the past 40 or 50 years,” he said.
“Removing crocodiles just doesn’t work. It gives a false sense of security.
“People think it is safe then they go for a swim and another comes along and eats them.”
He said Queenslanders needed to adopt the same attitude as Northern Territorians.
“They call it a human management issue, rather than a crocodile management problem,” he said.
Following the sighting of a 5 metre crocodile at Port Douglas in April, people have been divided about what should be done.