Sci­ence head backs croc­o­dile re­movals

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Tom Volling

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.

Pic­ture: BREN­DAN RADKE

Fol­low­ing the sight­ing of a 5 me­tre croc­o­dile at Port Dou­glas in April, people have been di­vided about what should be done.

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