Reports of illegal croc catching in Douglas shire
THE Douglas Shire is involved in a Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) investigation regarding disturbing reports of members of the public deliberately interfering with wild crocodiles.
Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said that in the past two months three reports had come through of people attempting to catch crocodiles with baited lines.
Dr Miles said EHP was currently investigating such incidents in the Douglas, Hinchinbrook and Whitsunday shires.
“It’s frankly unbelievable that members of the public would contemplate doing this, it shows a complete disregard for personal and public safety.
“In each instance, the size of the baits used and the places they were found clearly suggests that crocodiles are being targeted,” he said.
Dr Miles said that in at least one case it seemed the people taking part in these activities were doing so to bolster their social media presence.
“They achieved this objective, their Facebook posts leading us to investigate their actions.”
“Crocodiles are potentially lethal animals in the wild, particularly if they are being interfered with or tempted with food.
Crocodiles in the wild are protected in Queensland.
Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 a fine of up to $4876 can apply to a person found guilty of feeding dangerous native wildlife without authority; and a penalty of $27,427 can apply if a person is found guilty of taking a crocodile without authority.
“EHP will be conducting land and vessel-based patrols of streams and estuaries in croc country over the summer months.
“If a crocodile is causing concerns in an area, under no circumstances should members of the public attempt to harm, capture, or drive the animal to another location.
“Instead, the sighting should be reported to EHP on 1300 130 372,” he said.
Dr Miles said members of the public should always be Crocwise in known Croc Country.
• Obey croc 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, and
• Remember, you are responsible for your own safety in croc country.
Further information on crocodiles and being Crocwise, including video safety tips on boating and fishing in crocodile country, is available on EHP’s website at www.ehp.qld.gov.au.