Alarm as saltie goes up stream near swimming area
A CAIRNS councillor says a saltwater crocodile spotted in the upper reaches of a freshwater creek is evidence that Queensland's croc management plan is not working.
The reptile, estimated to be up to 3m long, was photographed by a Babinda resident on Thursday afternoon, at Wonga Park, near the Babinda Creek swimming hole and Rotary Park camp grounds.
While the creek is part of the Russell River system, known territory for crocs, locals believe it is unusual to have one so far upstream, in clear, cold water.
Division 1 councillor Brett Moller said it was dangerous having a large croc so close to a public recreation area.
"Crocodiles are going further and further upstream into creeks that we haven't seen before," he said. "So, as I've said previously, the croc management plan is not working.
"The interaction between crocodiles and the community is growing each day and the risk profile for an attack in a freshwater swimming hole, boat ramp, or anywhere where recreational activities take place is growing exponentially.
"Is it going to take a child being attacked before there's some proactive recognition that (the plan) is not working and they really need to address a more proactive management plan where there is that community interface."
Babinda Kayaks operator Paul O'Brien said the area where the croc was spotted was downstream of where kayakers ventured. However, he said it was still a concern the animal was close to a swimming and recreation area.
"I know (crocs) are downstream from where I take out the kayaks, but I haven't heard of a 3m one before," he said.
He said crocodiles tended to avoid the area, mainly due to the clarity of the water.
"There's nowhere for them to hide," he said.
A Department of Environment and Science spokeswoman said on Friday they were not aware of the sighting, as it had not yet been reported.
The DES CrocWatch website said a croc was reported in Babinda Creek at Apex Park, about 500m away from Wonga Park, in September 2016.
To report a crocodile sighting, call CrocWatch hotline on 1300 130 372.