CALL FOR FRESH­WA­TER CROC TO BE RE­MOVED FROM LAKE EACHAM

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TABLE­LANDS busi­ness own­ers and fre­quent vis­i­tors to the area want the state gov­ern­ment to re­move fresh­wa­ter crocodiles liv­ing in the re­gion’s lakes, cit­ing a detri­men­tal ef­fect on tourism.

Deryck Thomp­son lives at Machans Beach but has en­joyed swim­ming at Lake Eacham near Yungaburra with his wife for the past 20 years.

He said fresh­wa­ter crocodiles were not a na­tive species of the lake and should be re­moved in case its ap­pear­ance caused a swim­mer to “panic and drown”.

“Lake Eacham is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar these days due to fac­tors like in­creased lo­cal pop­u­la­tion on the Table­lands, in­creased tourist visi­ta­tion, in­creas­ing num­ber of un­com­fort­ably hot days and in­creased crocodiles and stingers on coast,” Mr Thomp­son said.

“It should be a con­cern for all stake­hold­ers that gov­ern­ment agen­cies al­low crocodiles in pre­vi­ously croc­o­dile-free ar­eas.”

Tolga Coun­try Lodge owner Tanya Pezzer­ato agreed.

“I think they should get rid of them. The back­pack­ers here do ques­tion us for safety rea­sons, they are a de­ter­rent for them,” she said.

“If they do a week­end trip to the coast of Cape Trib we al­ways tell them not to get in the wa­ter, I don’t think any­where is safe any­more.

“The lit­tle freshie at Eacham wouldn’t bother me but it would be fright­en­ing for them.”

But a spokesman for the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Sci­ence said rangers would not re­move fresh­wa­ter crocodiles be­cause they did not pose a risk to hu­mans.

He said the de­part­ment was aware of a fresh­wa­ter croc­o­dile in Lake Eacham but had re­ceived no sight­ing re­ports about crocodiles in the wa­ter­way since April 2017.

“There have been no re­ports of any prob­lem in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the Lake Eacham croc­o­dile and park vis­i­tors,” he said.

“DES re­ceives few sight­ing re­ports about fresh­wa­ter crocodiles and they are not sub­ject to the same ‘prob­lem croc­o­dile’ man­age­ment ar­range­ments as es­tu­ar­ine crocodiles.

“If left alone they pose lit­tle dan­ger to the com­mu­nity.”

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