Fisherman against croc cull, says sightings are common
FISHERMAN Terry Grant used to head out on the water at least once a week, and says he's seen crocodiles "more times than I can count" in the Fitzroy River.
While the Rockhampton man doesn't get the chance to cast a line as often as he used to, he says he doesn't understand why some people are so eager to try to cull the prehistoric creatures.
"Crocs have been in this river forever. I don't know how people are still surprised by it," he said.
"You can go for a quick trip in the boat and spot three of them.
"It's not uncommon to go out there and see them."
Over the past week there have been several reported sightings of crocodiles in the Fitzroy River, and a small estuarine crocodile was sighted at Yeppoon Main Beach on November 14.
One video captured this week shows a crocodile lunging out of the water at a group of people who were on the Fitzroy River in a tinnie.
But Terry said people needed to respect the animals in their natural environment.
"They only get like that when they're protecting something. It wasn't being aggressive, it was being defensive," he said.
"People are worried about crocs taking people out of the river… you've got to be pretty stupid to swim in there.
"Don't go up and poke it with a stick or go into the water, you'll be right."
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said the Fitzroy River was a known crocodile habitat, and it was common for crocodiles to become more active in the warmer weather, which could lead to more sightings.
"Wildlife officers are encouraging residents to avoid recreational activities in the Gavial Creek section of the Fitzroy River following a number of reports of croc sightings in the area," a spokesperson said.
"While there is no evidence to suggest this crocodile is behaving in an aggressive manner, wildlife officers will be undertaking a night-time survey to observe its behaviour."
Recent warning signs have been placed at all local boat ramps.
It is important that all crocodile sightings are reported to EHP as soon as possible on 1300 130 372. EHP investigates all crocodile reports it receives.
Crocodiles which are identified as "of concern" will be targeted for removal.
The public is reminded to always be "croc-wise" in croc country. In particular:
- Obey warning signs
- Don't swim or let domestic pets swim in waters where crocs may live
- Be aware that crocodiles also swim in the ocean
- Stand back from the water when fishing or cast netting
- Never provoke, harass or feed crocs
- Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near the water, a camp site or boat ramp
- Never interfere with or fish or boat near crocodile traps
- Always supervise children