October 14th 2008
Cockle croc under wired watch
The crocodile we reported on yesterday has been under watch by the EPA who placed a satellite transmitter onto the reptile seven weeks ago.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) say the croc is 3.5 metres long and that they have been tracking it as it has moved from Magnetic Island to near the Bohle River and back to Magnetic Island in the last few days.
EPA Team Leader Scott Sullivan said the EPA would assess the crocodile and would remove it if needed.
"The EPA put a satellite transmitter on this male crocodile on 21 August 2008 at Barramundi Creek south of Townsville," Mr Sullivan said.
"Glued on the croc's neck is a small transmitter, covered in synthetic waterproof material, with two aerials sticking up.
"It transmits the croc's locations to a satellite on one day in every five, and the battery should last about 12 months.
"In the last fortnight, this crocodile was tracked moving between Cockle Bay and West Point on Magnetic Island's western side.
"Then the satellite data from 11am on Friday, 10 October, showed it at 3.6km west-northwest of Cockle Bay. By 4pm on Friday it was 3.7km north-east of the Bohle River.
"On Saturday, a local resident saw the croc back at Magnetic Island at Cockle Bay near Picnic Bay. Today we monitored the area by boat and by radio tracking, but conditions were very choppy and we saw nothing.
"We will continue our monitoring, check the next satellite data, and if this croc is still in the Cockle Bay area, put a team together and remove it as a problem crocodile," Mr Sullivan said.
"Magnetic Island residents had seen a croc hanging around Cockle Bay in recent days and reported the sightings to the EPA.
"EPA Magnetic Island staff put up a recent croc warning sign at the little beach, which is mainly mud and mangroves and is not popular with swimmers. They have patrolled the area regularly since the reported sightings.
"Crocodiles have been seen at Magnetic Island in the past but usually they have just been moving through.
"Estuarine crocodiles are listed as a 'vulnerable' species and play an important role in keeping Queensland's wetlands, freshwater and marine ecosystems healthy.
"By adopting simple precautions when in croc country, people can minimise the safety risks and ensure conservation of these reptiles.
"Never leave food scraps, fish frames or bait at campsites or at boat ramps, as this may attract and habituate crocodiles to the area," Mr Sullivan said.
For further information on crocodiles and how to be croc wise in croc country visit www.epa.qld.gov.au
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