Aerial sur­vey finds big croc

Tablelands Advertiser - - NEWS - Bron­wyn Wheatcroft

A PO­TEN­TIAL maneater croc­o­dile seen lurk­ing near Ma­reeba will be tar­geted for im­me­di­ate re­moval.

The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment has kept its re­cent prom­ise to con­duct aerial in­spec­tions of Ma­reeba wa­ter­ways and this week con­fimed there are more salt­wa­ter croc­o­diles in the re­gion.

Two sight­ings were con­firmed by EHP Wildlife of­fi­cers who led a he­li­copter in­spec­tion on Tues­day around Two Mile Creek, Ma­reeba Wet­lands, sec­tions of the Bar­ron River, Lake Mitchell and var­i­ous smaller dams.

There has also been an es­tu­ar­ine croc­o­dile re­ported in a Ma­reeba farm dam.

One croc­o­dile, which was spot­ted in the south-western cor­ner of Lake Mitchell was four me­tres long and an­other croc spot­ted Two Mile Creek was half the size.

EHP’s act­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for con­ser­va­tion and bio­di­ver­sity Lind­say Del­zoppo said the four-me­tre croc had never been re­ported to EHP on their croc­o­dile sight­ing hot­line but lo­cal res­i­dents had made re­li­able re­ports of a ‘big saltie’ in the area.

“The in­for­ma­tion gath­ered from the air on the cur­rent lo­ca­tions of these croc­o­diles will greatly as­sist wildlife of­fi­cers in their re­moval op­er­a­tions,” he said.

“Wildlife of­fi­cers also spot­ted a croc­o­dile, just over 2 me­tres at Two Mile Creek.

“EHP has al­ready tar­geted that an­i­mal for re­moval and the re­moval ef­fort is con­tin­u­ing.

“Wildlife of­fi­cers are also work­ing to re­move a 60cm es­tu­ar­ine croc­o­dile re­ported in a farm dam in Ma­reeba.”

A lo­cal he­li­copter op­er­a­tor has al­ready been con­tracted for the in­spec­tion fol­low­ing the re­moval of four es­tu­ar­ine croc­o­diles from Ma­reeba wa­ter­ways so far this year.

Ma­reeba Shire is classed as Zone E in the croc­o­dile Gen­eral Man­age­ment Zone which means croc­o­diles dis­play­ing dan­ger­ous be­hav­iour will be tar­geted for re­moval by EHP.

Dur­ing a Ma­reeba Cham­ber of Com­merce meet­ing in July, Me­laleuca Croc­o­dile Farm owner Juer­gen Arnold of­fered to re­ceive train­ing to al­low him to catch croc­o­diles in the re­gion.

A EHP spokes­women said the pro­posal to pro­vide croc­o­dile train­ing man­age­ment to staff at the Me­laleuca Croc­o­dile Farm has been agreed in­prin­ci­ple and is be­ing pro­gressed.

“Two em­ploy­ees from the Me­laleuca Croc­o­dile Farm have un­der­gone croc­o­dile man­age­ment train­ing with the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion,” the spokes­women said.

Prop­erty own­ers with croc­o­diles on their land will be con­tacted by the EHP to ac­cess their land to re­move croc­o­diles.

To re­port a croc­o­dile sight­ing call 1300 130 372.

Wildlife of­fi­cers also spot­ted a croc­o­dile, just over 2 me­tres in length, at Two Mile Creek. EHP’s Act­ing Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Lind­say Del­zoppo

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