An update of Queensland’s crocodile management plans is expected by the end of the year and, for many, it can’t come soon enough.
The Cairns Post reports that the maps currently guiding saltwater crocodile management, which were drawn up in 2018, have come under strong criticism for not keeping pace with croc population increases.
It says new semi-rural housing development around Cairns and tourism use of Far North rivers has seen the calls for change to become ever-more urgent.
Roderic Rees, the director of Cairns Adventure Group – which operates whitewater raft and tubing tours on the Mulgrave, Barron and Tully rivers – told the Cairns Post that his company was assessing the risk of croc attacks every day.
“Croc management zoning around Cairns and surrounding areas needs a serious review,” he said. “I fully understand we need to cohabitate but when the safety of the public comes into question there definitely needs to review of policy around croc management.”
Traditional owner, Aggie Munro, said crocs have been seen at the Goldsborough Valley Campgrounds where there are no croc warning signs in an area long believed to be safe. The Cairns Post reports that, earlier this year, the owner of adventure paddleboard company, What’SUP Cairns, Ally Chadburn, was forced off the Mulgrave River by a big croc, with confirmed sightings at the campground which is more than 45 kilometres from where the river meets the sea.
With new estates opening up in the Goldsborough Valley and use of the river by swimmers new to the area, Ms Chadburn told the Post that unless something was done, someone will get taken.
“There is nowhere safe on the south side for people to go any more,” she said.
However, the Cairns Post reports that, according to DES, the Mulgrave River at Goldsborough is not suitable for the installation of a physical crocodile barrier due to the large volumes of water that flow through the area during high rainfall events.
A new Crocwise Strategy currently being formulated by the Department of Environment is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“The Queensland Government is committed to balancing the highest possible levels of public safety with the conservation of viable crocodile populations in the wild,” a DES spokesman told the Cairns Post.
Since 1975, there have been 46 estuarine crocodile attacks on humans in Queensland, 16 of which have been fatal.
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