One of the Mary River crocs.
One of the Mary River crocs. Contributed

$5.8m will help ‘manage’ Mary River crocodiles

THE Palaszczuk government has announced increased funding of $5.8 million over three years for crocodile management south to the Mary River, including a comprehensive monitoring program to study crocodile populations, and guaranteeing the jobs of wildlife officers.

Environment Minister Steven Miles yesterday confirmed the additional funding would be allocated in the State Budget.

Dr Miles said the funding commitment would allow the Queensland Government to conduct a comprehensive crocodile population survey – covering rivers and estuaries from Cape York to Gladstone for at least three years – as part of its crocodile management review.

“We don’t know with enough scientific accuracy if crocodile numbers are increasing or decreasing in some river systems, and in light of a suspected crocodile attack in the Daintree we need to know,” Dr Miles said.

“To inform future crocodile management in Queensland, we need a scientifically sound understanding of crocodile numbers and trends.

“We know we will need regular and reliable data collection in several areas along the north-east coast of Queensland, extending south to the Mary River.

“Under the program, crocodile survey work will be conducted throughout rivers and estuaries at night time, and at particular tide phases when it is the best time to see crocodiles. The new funding provides for three additional staff to deliver that program, increasing to five staff in 2017/2018.

“This will be the most comprehensive crocodile population survey ever in Queensland and data will be compared to figures going back as far as 1979.

“There are serious public safety concerns associated with croc country, and we need to explore ways to live side-by-side with these animals and protect crocodile populations in the wild.

“It is important we find a solution that delivers public safety and survival of the species.”