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Straddie croc could have been a dugong, but watch out for real ones

By Jim O’Toole, Townsville Bureau

A reported sighting of a salt water crocodile near Stradbroke Island turned out to be a dugong. After viewing social media footage Cairns News agrees the sighting was not a croc.

After 60 reported sightings of crocs in and around Cairns beaches and northern suburbs over the last month, any surface water is out of bounds until the excessive numbers are cleaned up preferably by shooting.

Mareeba on the northern Tablelands once was free of crocs in its waterways but since numerous small crocs escaped from a local croc farm during the massive Cyclone Yasi in 2011 they populated Two Mile Creek, small streams, Barron River and Granite Creek, all within walking distance of the town’s CBD.

Croc farms and zoos are overloaded with salties and do not want any more, especially over two metres long.

But the idiotic policy of the state Labor corporation is to catch and relocate crocs giving somebody else the problem.

Anyone silly enough to dip their toes in the Ross River in Townsville or the Barron River in Cairns deserves to be snapped up.

However there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of crocs living in southern Queensland waters over the years.

In the 70’s fishermen were quoted in the Gympie and Sunshine Coast media seeing salties in creeks and near beaches.

The Mary River at Maryborough was home to large crocs in the 60’s, indeed relatives of this scribe saw a monster alongside their dinghy when fishing in the Mary River circa 1965.

There were also claims of crocodiles being shot by farmers in the Mary River in the 70’s.

With the great explosion of saltie numbers from the Torres Strait to Gladstone it is not unrealistic to expect these deadly saurians to be seen in southern waters after being pushed out of usual territory by larger aggressive males..

The Queensland Labor Corporation claim only some salties are dangerous to humans but Aborigines and Islanders have long warned, in spite of this nonsense, that every saltie is dangerous from one foot long to 25 feet long.

Two years ago we invited wildlife officers who said they would only remove dangerous crocs from Cairns beaches, to get into the water and identify which ones should be removed.

Needless to say none of the state’s armchair experts took up the offer.

The mistaken croc seen at Straddie should be shot says Bob Katter

About five years ago several of our contributors passed on Facebook comments and a photo of a saltie seen in the Brisbane river.

Unfortunately the photo was lost in the ether.

Far Northern federal member Bob Katter yesterday commented on the Stradbroke sighting sternly advising media he “did not put any crocs near Straddie.”

He did however tell wildlife rangers that it “should be shot” because it was too close to people.

Absolutely correct Mr Katter.

Greens try to shout down Cairns croc meeting

The final round of crocodile management consultation meetings held in Cairns on Monday heard the Green rent-a-crowd of 20 hecklers and self- appointed crocodile experts howl down any sensible argument about removing dangerous reptiles from populated areas.

Local residents in favour of removing crocodiles were told by Katters Australia Party Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth the reptiles would be removed or as a last resort, culled along the coastline between Mossman and Mackay.

Cairns Crocodile meeting chairman Cr Brett Olds and KAP Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth were often shouted down by vocal Greens.

Tourist numbers had been impacted and visitors no longer felt safe visiting the Far North, he said.

The sensible element of older Cairns residents, one of them a fourth generation settler, backed their reduction in numbers and removal of all reptiles from Cairns waterways.

He said there were no crocodiles in most rivers and creeks or Cairns Inlet 50 years ago.

“Everywhere was safe to swim and my kids were always in a local creek swimming on weekends,” he said.

“Once we could put up to 100 skiers in the water, now we can’t go near the ocean.

“There are young people getting into trouble because they have nothing to do and nowhere to go yet once they were in the rivers and creeks burning up energy.

“Even the life savers fear for their lives if they go into the water at beaches.

“Now I fear for my 17 grandchildren if they go anywhere near water and we cannot swim in the Mulgrave River or Lake Placid anymore.”

Another resident warned how kayaks paddled by kids along the Mulgrave River resembled a crocodile to large males and there were incidents where crocs had menaced kayaks and canoes.

“They have lost their fear of man and something has to be done,” he said.

Self-proclaimed crocodile expert Greg Watson said people should be trained to keep away from water and savage crocs should be left alone in Cairns waterways.

Resident David White said lots of people came to the area to see crocs in the wild and there was a large tourist industry depending on it.

“The population is recovering from almost extinction, but I don’t want to see anyone hurt so we have to handle this logically and with science.

“There were two surveys where 75 per cent of people were against culling. We have to do more about controlling people in crocodile habitats.”

Mr Knuth assured the meeting there were no plans to remove or cull crocodiles from the Daintree River.

KAP candidate for the seat of Cook, Gordon Rasmussen said he believed consensus could be reached between those opposing croc removal from urban waterways and those who wanted them removed. Cook takes in all of Cape York and is home to tens of thousands of  estuarine crocodiles

KAP candidate for Cook, Gordon Rasmussen said any safari hunting plans for indigenous communities would be in controlled areas north of Laura.

“We do not want crocodiles in Mossman, Port Douglas or Mareeba rivers and creeks and they must be removed, and I am sure we can find a consensus between those here opposed to and in favour of the legislation,” Mr Rasmussen said.

It appeared the Greens mob were showing more interest in attacking Bob Katter than engaging in any sensible solution with meeting chairman Cairns Councillor Brett Olds and speaker Shane Knuth.

Performing for the ABC, Win TV, Channel 7 and other reporters, an agitated deckhand from the Daintree engaged Mr Katter with an ‘in-your-face’ screaming effort but the seasoned politician of 50 years didn’t take the bait.

Daintree deckhand Damian Duffi tries to engage Bob Katter with an in-your-face screaming match performing for television cameras

Mr Katter walked away, further enraging the agitated deckie, Damian Duffi, by telling him he was “bored” with his illogical tirade.

The motley collection of about 20 vocal Greens, according to one supporter of the KAP plan, were mustered in a call on Facebook that morning, to “get as many as we can to the Katter crocodile meeting.”

“If this is the best they can do then we know we have the support of the majority of locals, not transient visitors from interstate,” Mr Katter said.

“”The three other meetings we held had many more attend than this meeting, and those people were 100 per cent in favour of removing the crocodiles.”

“The bill will be presented sometime this month,” Mr Knuth said.

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