‘Unnatural locations’: Debate sparks crocodile controversy
THE creation of massive rock lagoons to segregate humans from crocodiles has been proposed for Far North Queensland as debate rages in the wake of an expert's critical warning.
James Cook University lecturer Claire Brennan opened a can of worms when she warned residential expansion in the Far North meant humans were increasingly on the frontier of crocodile interactions.
She said people moving from the south needed to be increasingly cautious and come to grips with the fact that Far North Queensland is croc country.
Cairns Post readers have had mixed reactions to the comments, with one reader suggesting Queensland should follow the Northern Territory's approach to keeping distance between man and beast.
"lf you want safety from crocodiles you got two choices," he said.
"Build rock lagoons as like in Darwin Harbour to keep humans safe from all deadly predators instead of billions of dollars wasted on sports or opera and arts venues.
"Your other choice is - instead of invading an ancient rainforest to kill what you don't like - go back and safely live in Europe and Great Britain."
Jay Wills suggested the introduction of an abundant food source like feral pigs had helped crocodile populations spike.
"This gives the apex predators more resources to grow in numbers and due to the pigs geographic ability to live almost anywhere on land it lets the crocs move to further areas where there would not normally be sufficient means," he said.
John Murphy argued any suggestion of leaving crocodiles to their own means should not be applied to the Atherton Tablelands where the reptiles have been recently found living in unnatural habitat.
"The saltwater croc population on the tablelands is there because they escaped from the crocodile farm," he said.
"These are crocodiles that should be removed, and the farm they escaped from should be responsible for the costs of removal.
"As for other salties in their natural habitat, (they) should be left alone and humans should learn to live with them."
Adam Hurst agreed with the argument.
"We have crocs that have escaped croc farms, crocs that have been moved to areas they never originally habituated," he said.
"I'm all for letting them have the mangroves but not these new unnatural locations.
"If you found one in your pool would you say, 'Well he was here first.'"
Lyall Naylor refuted the claim that crocodile numbers were on the rise.
"The only numbers climbing are those of the human population," he said.
"Wildlife population numbers are governed by limitations of resources, people with a grasp of secondary school science will know this."
He rejected the theory that the abundance of feral pigs might lead to a population boom.
"Human occupation means habitat modification, competition for food resources (think about the vast amount of fish and other aquatic wildlife that is taken by recreational and commercial fisheries), removal of crocodiles by the environment department, illegal take, pollution etc," he said.
"And I'm told the weekend pig hunters are a significant factor in reducing pig numbers.
"The crocodiles hardly have it all their own way.
"You need to put a bit more cognitive thinking in to the subject."
Originally published as 'Unnatural locations': Debate sparks crocodile controversy