Dan­ger lurk­ing in fields as sal­ties move up Bar­ron River

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DANIEL BATE­MAN

RANGERS are be­ing urged to re­move salt­wa­ter croc­o­diles from a Ma­reeba wa­ter­way be­fore the dan­ger­ous rep­tiles in­vade the Bar­ron River’s up­per reaches.

A cane farm worker was bit­ten by a 1.4m saltie that had been scorched in a fire on a Bi­boohra prop­erty on the week­end, about 5km from Ma­reeba.

The in­jured croc had been dis­cov­ered by a cane har­vest crew near an ir­ri­ga­tion chan­nel at the Peters Rd farm on Sun­day.

Cane worker Daryl Bell was bit­ten on the hand by the croc, af­ter he tried to catch the an­i­mal to take to a lo­cal vet.

Mr Bell was taken to Ma­reeba Hos­pi­tal for treat­ment.

Har­vest Ma­reeba owner Bruce Craven said he needed to prise the croc’s jaws open to re­move Mr Bell’s hand. He said it took more than two hours to con­tact the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion for ad­vice.

“They told us to take it to a vet who then eu­thanased it,” he said.

Salt­wa­ter croc­o­diles are un­usual on the Ather­ton Ta­ble- lands, which sits about 400m above sea level and is 40km from the coast.

How­ever, crocs have been spot­ted in Two Mile Creek, near Peters Rd, in­clud­ing at the Ma­reeba Waste­water Treat­ment Plant ear­lier this year.

“Hav­ing croc­o­diles in a cane pad­dock places my men in a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion and this croc should not have been in the cane,” Mr Craven said.

The 1.4m croc­o­dile was scorched in cane fire at Bi­boohra.

Croc bite vic­tim Daryl Bell.

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