Cru­cial to keep re­ac­tion in check

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - OLIVIA GRACE- CUR­RAN

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.”

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