A surge in the number of crocodile sightings along the Queensland coast has sparked calls for them to be removed from anywhere near tourist beaches or swimming holes.
There has been a huge spike in the number of crocodiles sighted in the Sunshine state this year and tourism bosses fear this – and a number of high-profile attacks – could deter grey nomads and other travellers from visiting.
Just yesterday, a 2.5-metre saltwater crocodile suspected of eating a dog at a Cairns Beach was found beheaded. The act has been declared ‘illegal’ and an investigation is under way.
Rangers stalking the dog-taking predator spotted at least two crocodiles on the same stretch of beach. Other crocs have already been spotted at Cape York, Port Douglas, Cairns, Innisfail, Townsville and as far south as Maryborough. And a 3.3-metre croc died yesterday after it became trapped in a Mackay shark net.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports that these sightings could end in a ‘death roll’ for visitor numbers.
Cairns tourism stalwart, Fred Ariel, told the newspapers the crocodile threat was “horrendous” and a “disgrace”.
“If a croc is spotted on our beach or in a popular swim hole, whether it is two feet or 10 feet, it has to be culled or captured and removed,” he said, “We are not only risking lives but our international reputation as a tourism destination … if they are brazen enough to take a dog, why not a child?”
The Queensland Government is currently drafting a three-tiered crocodile management plan which will include exclusion zones and zero-tolerance zones.
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