More education needed about crocs for tourists
DOUGLAS Shire Mayor Julia Leu says it is unacceptable that people are still taking risks swimming in areas where crocodiles live.
Today marks the second anniversary of Cindy Waldron's death, after the Lithgow photographer taken by a 4.3m long saltwater crocodile at Thornton Beach, north of the Daintree River.
The 46-year-old had been standing arm-in-arm in shallow water with her Cairns friend Leeann Mitchell when the croc struck.
A bench has been installed outside CJ's Cafe at Thornton Beach as a memorial to Ms Waldron.
Locals told the Cairns Post they planned gather today to commemorate the sad anniversary.
Long-term local Billy Burns - one of the last people to have seen Ms Waldron alive - told Post earlier this month that he regularly saw people swimming at the beach, despite plenty of warnings.
Mayor Leu said since Ms Waldron's death, her council had done whatever they could to inform people of the dangers of crocodiles, ranging from calling for better signage through to handing out information leaflets at the Daintree car ferry.
However she said despite increased public education, people still ignored the risk.
"Very sadly, Cindy's death did reinforce the message of not going swimming at night in crocodile habitat, and to be very wary in actual fact, at any time," she said.
"We still clearly have people - locals and visitors - taking risks in known crocodile habitat and this is not acceptable."
She said those who visited and lived in the region needed to not only appreciate its natural beauty, but also be aware of the possible dangers they faced.
"People should be croc-wise and avoid and interaction with crocodiles," she said.
"We have seen the tragic consequences and ripple effect on the community when people are taken by crocodiles.
"Public education and awareness about crocodiles is absolutely vital to reducing the risk that crocodiles pose.
"This includes targeted programs to educate our tourists, who are drawn to our region by its exotic wildlife and unique natural environment."