BE­HIND THE CROCODILE HEAD­LINES,

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Shane Ni­chols

A 2.6m crocodile was re­moved from a trap near the mouth of Dick­son In­let on Tues­day but the larger crocodile tar­get­ted for cap­ture is still at large.

Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers have left the trap in place on the shore of Mag­a­zine Is­land, aim­ing to cap­ture a 4m rep­tile that was sighted nearly a month ago.

A state­ment re­leased by En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Steven Miles ex­plic­itly linked this week’s re­moval to the re­cent changes to croc man­age­ment zon­ings for Dou­glas Shire.

“Wildlife of­fi­cers have re­moved a 2.6 me­tre crocodile from Four Mile Beach just weeks af­ter the area was re­zoned un­der the Queens­land Crocodile Man­age­ment Plan,” the min­is­ter said.

“A mem­ber of the pub­lic saw a crocodile leav­ing Dick­son In­let with a tur­tle in its jaws, around 200 me­tres north of the Four Mile Beach pa­trolled area and just 20 me­tres off the head­land shore,” Mr Miles said.

“In ac­cor­dance with the Queens­land Crocodile Man­age­ment Plan, wildlife of­fi­cers tar­geted the an­i­mal for re­moval and re­cent sight­ing warn­ing signs were de­ployed as well as a baited crocodile trap.

“Wildlife of­fi­cers do not be­lieve this was the tar­get an­i­mal and so the trap will re­main de­ployed for the time be­ing,” Mr Miles said.

The min­is­ter’s use of the words “re­moved a 2.6 me­tre crocodile from Four Mile Beach” de­lib­er­ately in­voked the let­ter of the new zon­ing that cov­ers the beach area and hence why this croc was re­moved.

But it set off a mini-frenzy in some of the me­dia who quite nat­u­rally thought the crocodile was ac­tu­ally off the beach, in­stead of in the In­let where a num­ber of croc­o­diles, of var­i­ous sizes, are nor­mally to be found.

“Croc cap­tured off world fa­mous Four Mile Beach at Port Dou­glas” said the ABC. “A crocodile has been taken away from a pa­trolled beach at Port Dou­glas,” said Star 102.7.

The min­is­ter said the 2.6m croc would be re­lo­cated to a crocodile farm or zoo.

Mayor Ju­lia Leu was at pains to re­it­er­ate that the up­graded zon­ing in­tended to pro­tect beach­go­ers was not in­tended to re­move non­threat­en­ing croc­o­diles from Dick­son In­let.

Pic­tures: SHANE NI­CHOLS/GIZELLE GHIDELLA

A large croc in the Mow­bray River. Just me­tres away was a smaller one. Fish­er­man say there are up to six crocs in that wa­ter­way. In­set: Rangers re­move the 2.6m croc Dick­son In­let on Tues­day.

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