Wally search goes on in Ross Creek

Sight­ing may have been a log

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

A LARGE croc­o­dile was yes­ter­day spot­ted bask­ing on the banks of Ross Creek and cir­cling boats.

But rangers charged with trap­ping Townsville’s elu­sive rep­tile said it was more likely to have been a log.

The De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion’s com­ments came a day af­ter a spokes­woman said the 4m croc­o­dile that has been stalk­ing Townsville’s wa­ter­ways for al­most six months had most likely moved on, or died.

Re­peated sight­ings of the croc­o­dile dubbed “Wally” have played havoc with wa­ter­way events in­clud­ing the Mag­netic Is­land open wa­ter swim, which will be e can­celled if the croc is not ot caught.

An of­fice worker con­tacted the EHP about 8am yes­ter­day af­ter spot­ting what he be­lieved was a croc un­der the deck of Mon­soons Bar and Grill from his win­dow.

He sent a pho­to­graph to wildlife of­fi­cers, who were on scene within an hour to con­duct a land and wa­ter sur­vey.

But af­ter com­ing up empty- handed, the EHP de­clared it may have been mis­taken for float­ing de­bris.

“The per­son who re­ported the sight­ing pro­vided a photo from long range that does not ap­pear to be con­sis­tent with a croc­o­dile,” an EHP spokes­woman said.

“De­bris in the wa­ter, es­pe­cially logs, along with tur­tles, fish and du­gongs can of­ten be mis­taken for croc­o­diles. Warn­ing signs will be de­ployed and a wildlife of­fi­cer will re­main on site to mon­i­tor the area.”

Char­ter boat op­er­a­tor Robin Kitchin was help­ing wash down a friend’s small wooden boat just me­tres from the re­ported sight­ing.

Mr Kitchin didn’t see the an­i­mal but said he wouldn’t have been any­where near the wa­ter if he had known about the re­ported sight­ing.

“They need to shoot the croc be­cause it is only a mat- ter of time be­fore some­one gets at­tacked and then ev­ery­one will come out scream­ing, say­ing ‘ I told you so’,” he said.

“Rangers need to stake out the river un­til they see it.

“I know bleed­ing hearts will say don’t shoot it but wait un­til one of their kids gets taken.”

This week, EHP said the phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics, be­hav­iour and move­ment pat­terns of the 4m an­i­mal had al­ways sug­gested it was likely to be sick and with­out its own ter­ri­tory. The de­part­ment said it may have left the area or even have died.

Croc­o­dile sight­ings can be re­ported to EHP on 1300 130 372. All re­ports are taken se­ri­ously and in­ves­ti­gated.

Rangers need to stake out the river un­til they see it BOATIE ROBIN KITCHIN

Main pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

ON LOOK­OUT: De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion scour Ross Creek near where what was be­lieved to be a croc­o­dile was spot­ted ( inset).

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