CALL FOR FRESHWATER CROC TO BE REMOVED FROM LAKE EACHAM
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.”