Crocodile numbers on rise, says EHP
CROCODILE populations in Queensland have been rising since the 1970s, placing more people in direct conflict with the dangerous reptiles in northern Queensland.
A study by a Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) scientist has, for the first time, acknowledged that croc numbers across the state are increasing, with the rate of croc attacks growing at an average of 1.3 per year since 1996.
The study, by the department’s northern wildlife operations manager, Dr Matt Brien, is to be published by the CSIRO in coming months.
The paper, which examines patterns of human-crocodile conflict in Queensland between 1971-2015, states that with the increase in conflict, the ongoing management of saltwater crocodiles through targeted removals in and around areas of higher human habitation, is essential for ensuring public safety.
Cairns Division 9 Councillor Brett Olds called upon the Palaszczuk Government to review the $5.8 million it is spending on a three-year survey of the state’s crocodile populations, and channel it instead into croc management activities.
The large-scale monitoring project, which began earlier this year, will determine whether croc numbers are rising and if so, what management actions are needed.
“They don’t need to go out and count every single croc,” Cr Olds said.
“They can go up into the Gulf, or in some of the big river systems, and count every one per square metre there, and get an estimate.
“If they did that, they’d save a few million dollars and put those extra dollars into more ranger programs, more cages, and more people on the ground being proactive.”
Dr Brien said that waterways between Giru and Cooktown, including the Barron, Russell, Daintree and Endeavour rivers have also been surveyed to date, along with the Norman and Staaten rivers in the Gulf.