BEHIND THE CROCODILE HEADLINES,
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.
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.