THE Mareeba Chamber of Commerce wants the State Government to take a proactive approach to eradicating rogue saltwater crocodiles inhabiting freshwater ways in the Biboohra area.
On the back of a series of sightings of a 3.8m animal in Two Mile Creek, the chamber fears the Department of Environment and Science’s “sit and wait” approach will only allow the existing saltwater crocodile population to thrive, to the detriment of the community.
Chamber president and Biboohra mango farmer Joe Moro said the Mareeba community had successfully lobbied the government to amend the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan in 2017 to allow saltwater crocodiles to be removed from the area.
“This was an acknowledgement that these animals have been introduced into this area,” Mr Moro said.
“However, the existence of a 3.8m crocodile in Two Mile Creek is evidence that the implementation of the plan, in its current form, is failing.
“But what is more concerning is the unsubstantiated sightings of a crocodile in the Barron River, about 2.5km east of Two Mile Creek.
“If the animals reach the Barron River, upstream of the Barron River Falls, there is far-reaching implications for a much larger part of the community who use the river for domestic, farming, recreational and tourism purposes.
“Why should our community wait until something happens, before action is taken.”
Mr Moro said the size and condition of the most recent crocodiles sighted supported calls for a tougher stance.
“Unless the department changes to a proactive approach to eradication, supported by a dedicated team similar to that used for pest/ insect outbreaks, then the population of saltwater crocodiles will continue to thrive to the detriment of the community,” Mr Moro said.
“For this to occur, animals must also be eradicated from Lake Mitchell as well.”