Tuesday 4 September 2012

'Crocodiles must go from Cairns and Port Douglas' - Michael Trout MP

The MP for Barron River, Michael Trout, says crocs must go. There must be no more deliberating on the safety or otherwise of crocodiles, he says. Action must be taken now before a life is lost.

“There’s no time for pussyfooting around the crocodile debate," Member for Barron River, Michael Trout says. “Our crocodiles are proliferating, with record numbers being sighted around Far North Queensland from Port Douglas to Innisfail.”

“Our tourism industry will be the endangered species if the issue of removal of these dangerous reptiles is not addressed immediately. It’s only a matter of time and another human is going to be attacked. We’ve just recently nearly lost a child, and I really wonder how the parent felt about the comment that the croc was probably after the pet dog."

“If the pet dog had not been there, the child would have been the target. If the dog was taken in front of the child, the child would be traumatised for life.”

Trout says there was only one path to go down now, and that is zero tolerance with crocodiles being removed from all populated areas.

“Crocodiles don’t stay in one place. Spring is here, and during Spring, crocodiles start moving around again," Michael Trout says. “Anyone at Clifton or Palm Cove will tell you about crocodiles swimming parallel to the shore between the two beaches, and numerous crocodiles have been spotted between the two beaches in the estuarine creeks and on the beach in recent years. Last year the beach was closed week after week following numerous sightings."

“I’m just amazed we haven’t had a fatality recently, but if we don’t act now, there will be consequences,” he said. "At Lake Placid, once a popular recreation/swimming area for locals and tourists alike, is now deserted following several crocodile sightings. Crocodile signs and grim warnings have replaced splashing and laughter on a hot day as salties move into freshwater areas. The Kiosk is closed along with everything else. Rafting companies can’t allow their customers to enjoy a swim after a half day tour."

“We have enough problem enticing tourists to Cairns during the summer due to stingers, but now we have a proliferation of crocodiles in estuaries and on beaches in our northern suburbs, in popular swimming areas such as Lake Placid, and crocs turning up in drains and waterways in the middle of the city."

“One of the most popular, iconic family activities in Queensland is Surf Life Saving. The majority of Queenslanders at some stage of their lives have spent their leisure times on the beach, safe in the knowledge that life savers were present to ensure their safety.

“Now Surf Life Saving Clubs are having difficulty persuading parents to let their children attend nipper training and events. Numbers are dropping significantly, and our Life Savers of the future are diminishing rapidly in turn.

“One particular outrigger canoe club operating out of Port Douglas reports an alarming increase in sightings and a few frightening incidences," out says. “Undoubtedly the crocs are becoming more game, to the point where one was hit with a paddle while canoes were leaving the ramp. A sleeping dog was taken from the back of a moored yacht on the piles."

“I won’t rest until this matter is dealt with in the only way – removal of the crocodiles – not only for the sake of preserving life, but to avoid the death of tourism. I’m not talking about culling, just removal. It’s time to take action, and that doesn’t just mean removing a few rogue crocs from around well used boat ramps."

Michael Trout says that since he started campaigning before the last election, this was one of the biggest issues facing the region that he has pledged to take action on.


KitchenSlut said...

Why not just sell crocodile attack insurance like the NT. Much more cost effective and could fund the dredhging of Trinity Inlet?


Peter Senior said...

Common sense dictates that all crocs should be removed from residential areas as soon as possible. The only question is defining the boundary of 'residential'. That can't be too difficult - except for a professional bureaucrat. But then, 'common sense' was abandoned by bureaucrats years ago. Pathetic....

wstarck said...

Trying to catch and remove crocs over a significant area wii be very difficult and expensive. It will also need to be ongoing as more will keep coming in to occupy vacated habitat. When they were regularly hunted they became very wary of humans and stayed well away from us. It might be a lot more effective and less costly to make them fear us again. Use of rubber bullets, tasers or even small caliber rifles to inflict minor wounds could be tried without much cost and could well prove much more effective than catching them.

When a new danger appears in their environment, it usually doesn't take long for animals to start avoiding it. This also works to advantage in making them fear us but to disadvantage in trying to trap them.

Unknown said...

Peter, the common sense you're referring to is only applicable if it's backed up with knowledge about crocodile's ecology. Recent and ongoing research revealed that crocodiles have incredible homing instinct and are capable to return over hundreds of kilometers to where they were "taken" from. Relocation doesn't work and crocodile farms are not interested in wild caught crocs because they are nuisance. So, what are we going to do with all the captured crocodiles? The reason there were few and far between crocs around in the sixties is because there were shot out to the brink of extinction. Do we want them at that level again?

As wstarck said, it's very expensive to remove crocodiles and with the current Government's move to slash gov, employment, they're not going to hire an army of crocodile catchers. Besides, safety in our waterways can never be 100% guaranteed unless the rivers are patrolled 24/7.

Of course someone will be taken by a crocodile in our region sometimes in the future, just like there will be many people killed on the roads or in workplace accidents. Do you drive your car like a maniac? Hopefully not, just like you won't go swimming in crocodile habitats - that's common sense!