Croc in port spurs de­bate KAP hitch­ing cull plan to sight­ing

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

A LARGE salt­wa­ter croc­o­dile has been caught on cam­era at the Port of Townsville.

The sight­ing has reignited the po­lit­i­cal de­bate about the man­age­ment of crocodiles, with Kat­ter’s Aus­tralia Party us­ing it to push its con­tro­ver­sial culling pol­icy.

The cu­ri­ous croc­o­dile was spot­ted about 7am yes­ter­day by the port op­er­a­tions team, who then alerted man­age­ment and work­ers in a nearby boat.

The croc ( pic­tured), be­lieved to be at least 4m long, floated on the sur­face of the wa­ter along­side berth four for about 20 min­utes be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing.

Port spokes­woman Sharon Hoops said it was the largest croc­o­dile seen in the fa­cil­ity’s wa­ters in some time.

“We have a few croc­o­dile sight­ings at the port ev­ery year be­cause of the nice calm wa­ter,” she said.

“It’s not un­com­mon for us to see other wildlife like big fish and dol­phins.”

KAP can­di­date for Hinch­in­brook Nick Dametto, di­rec­tor of Townsville WaterS­ports, which op­er­ates from the Break­wa­ter Ma­rina, said he can­celled tours due to safety con­cerns af­ter the sight­ing.

“We had two peo­ple ring up to book tours but we de­cided not to send the jet­skis out, so we have lost busi­ness,” he said.

Mr Dametto said wa­ter­ways around Townsville and the Hinch­in­brook re­gion were over­pop­u­lated with crocodiles and dam­ag­ing the re­gion’s tourism po­ten­tial. “With­out proper con­trol of crocodiles liv­ing in nat­u­ral habi­tats we can’t pro­vide a safe area come and swim,” he said.

Mr Dametto said he was push­ing for a con­trolled cull of crocodiles in North Queens­land rivers and creeks, as well as the es­tab­lish­ment of an egg har­vest­ing in­dus­try.

A Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion spokesman said wildlife of­fi­cers were work­ing to re­lo­cate the croc­o­dile. They con­ducted a land- based in­spec­tion yes­ter­day and in­stalled warn­ing signs.

“Video footage of the an­i­mal pro­vided by the Port of Townsville will be re­viewed,” the spokesman said.

Wildlife of­fi­cers last night planned shore- based spot­light sur­veil­lance of the area. to

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