Crucial to keep reaction in check
CROC experts say North Queenslanders should not form an irrational fear of crocodiles.
Billabong Sanctuary reptile ranger Chris Benstead said crocs were on the move for breeding season but there was no increased risk to the public.
“To hear people saying that there are more crocodiles out there than we’ve ever seen … it’s a little bit of a hard justification,” Mr Benstead said.
“Now that the weather has started to warm up, male crocodiles are looking for territories where they could potentially push into, maybe displace another male crocodile and breed.
“We don’t need to necessarily fear them, but have a healthy respect of crocodiles.”
Mr Benstead said the Katter’s Australian Party’s controlled culling plan would create chaos in the ecosystem.
“When we remove those big dominant males, we actually create what they call a vacuum effect, so it actually sucks all these other crocodiles into that area to try and fill that niche,” he said.
“That’s when we run into issues with those smaller croco- diles that would potentially approach boats or … people.”
Surf Life Saving Queensland Townsville lifeguard supervisor Russell Blanchard said crocs were of no greater risk than usual at local beaches.
“It can be very cyclic …. We’ve had a couple of seasons where we’ve had multiple sightings and the occurrence of the odd large crocodile hanging around the area for extended periods,” he said.
“Within Townsville it hasn’t been increasingly any worse over the last few years.”
Mr Blanchard said living with crocodiles was a balancing act. “I would hate to see a world without crocodiles, but you don’t want them in builtup locations where there is a lot of aquatic activity happening,” he said.
Townsville man Terry McGeachin said he was not fazed by the concerns of increased croc activity around North Queensland.
“It’s where we live, it’s where they live. We just need to live with them,” he said.
“I’ve fished up here for many, many years and I’ve never been threatened. I’ve seen quite a few, but never been threatened by them.”