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November 5th 2008
Support for Croc in Space research

Croc Wighty Houdini following his capture last week Queensland environment groups have urged the Queensland government to avoid a knee-jerk anti-conservation reaction to recent crocodile incidents in north Queensland, and to continue with much needed research and management.

Queensland Conservation, Wildlife Preservation Society Queensland, North Queensland Conservation Council, Cairns and Far North Environment Centre and the Magnetic Island Nature Care Association said it was important to maintain a strong crocodile conservation focus.

The groups also expressed support for the research program 'Crocs in Space'.

"To better conserve crocodiles and develop better strategies to allow people and crocodiles to coexist we need to undertake basic research, such as the Crocs in Space satellite tracking program has been doing," said James McLellan, Coordinator of NQCC.

"Wildlife is sometimes inconvenient. It is sometimes dangerous. We expect African nations to preserve the magnificent wildlife of their continent, and so we should be mature in our responses. Humans are smart. We can avoid and manage risks rather than having to kill the very creatures that help make this a world renowned location," said Steve Ryan, Campaigner from CAFNEC

"With crocodiles, we have a particularly strong conservation obligation. Estuarine crocodiles are a threatened species, almost hunted to oblivion until they were protected in 1974. And they are increasingly threatened as we turn more of the coastline into suburbs for humans." said Des Boyland from WPSQ

"The ongoing threats to crocodiles were poignantly demonstrated by the death of Wighty, the crocodile whose last days were spent around Magnetic Island. He died from starvation having filled his stomach with our litter of plastic bags." said Charlie McColl, President of MINCA.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Support for Croc in Space research
David Ede
November 6th 2008
Steve would "Save" the Crocs?

There is nothing knee jerk about the EPA saving turtles that lay eggs on the beach at West Point. They continue to let 4WD on the beach. Oh sorry we are onto the croc arn't we...

Research on crocs needs to be in a safe and controlled environment. Not one where there is a lot of boating and human activity.

In this area, what hope has a croc got when it is continually bothered by the volume of activity generated by humans.

Surely survey and research should be done in a remote area where the croc can exist in a normal situation.

Don't feel sorry for the EPA they have hurt a lot of MI busineses and discouraged people from using Magnetic Island's beautiful beaches.

This is another department that should be run by the Feds who are doing a great job repairing the Barrier Reef.

EPA please do your reseach in the Widerness Park that Steve Irwin set up where there has been a recent mining application approved by the Government.

It seems strange that we have this specially dedicated Croc Hunter Park for research and the EPA bring the poor old croc down here where it has met it's death by being away from it's safer environment.

David Ede
Resident at West Point.
November 8th 2008
Not as simple as it sounds David. This croc and as far as I know, most of the crocs in the research program, came from an area "...where there is a lot of boating and human activity". That's why he was removed. With crocs now protected there is a conspicuous increase in population almost across the whole range of their distribution so there are very few places where a croc can be introduced and still exist in a "normal situation" (whatever that might be from the point of view of the croc), particularly one where an introduced croc might find a niche and stay there. After all, the EPA (and nearly everyone else) knows very little about croc behaviour and can only find out by some innovative and probably speculative research.
Whilst it is true that a croc released around Magnetic Island would be "continually bothered by the volume of activity generated by humans", this croc was released in Bowling Green Bay - itself a national park quite isolated from nearby towns and with very little human activity. Apparently it has a low croc population too so it is not such a bad choice. Maybe Murphy's Law kicked in unexpectedly, maybe protecting crocs is itself a waste of time, whatever, I don't think we should throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Blanche Danastas
November 17th 2008
As the human population density in coastal zones grows alarmingly, so too will our interactions with crocs (and sharks for that matter).

There is a need for tolerance as this occurs more into the future.

Australia is the last remaining country in the world where the saltwater crocodilea (Crocodylus porosus) still exists in ecologically functional densities. This apex predator, critical to ecosystem function (because they take out the sick and damaged prey, thus ensuring the health of prey stocks), has been hunted to ecological extinction throughout much of its range including Vanuatu and Indonesia. We almost hunted saltwater crocs to extinction in Australia, but luckily we protected them in time.

Sensible measures such as not hanging out in croc habitat at night is a good way to prevent the loss of human life. Understanding croc habits to allow for better management of the interactions between the infinitely growing human population and crocs is also a sensible measure.

I would also comment that Climate Change, air pollution and water shortages are a far greater threat to human kind than a few relocated crocs.

And to be fair to the marine wildlife of the world (sharks, sawfish, dugongs, turtles, dolphins, whales and crocodiles) - well we kill them in their millions through overfishing, pollution and marine debris, habitat destruction, entanglement and bycatch and lets not forget climate change...

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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