Crocs cruising through, not moving in says dep’t
THERE is no evidence crocodile populations in Queensland are venturing further south out of traditional 'croc country' and towards the Fraser Coast.
This is according to the Department of Environment and Science which this week responded to three recent reported crocodile sightings.
A 3m crocodile was reportedly seen on Fraser Island on March 3, while a 2m crocodile was allegedly spotted in the Mary River on April 6.
A 3.5m crocodile was reported to have been spotted in Beelbi Creek at Toogoom on April 15.
The department said inspections were carried out after each reported sighting and officers were unable to find any evidence of crocodiles being present.
A department spokesperson said investigations included interviews with people who reported crocodile sightings as well as daylight and spotlight surveys of identified areas.
The traditional 'croc country' in Queensland extends along the east coast from the far north down to the Boyne River near Gladstone.
The Fraser Coast falls under Zone F within the state's Crocodile Management Plan, meaning it is considered an atypical habitat zone for crocs.
Any crocodile found here, regardless of size or behaviour, is targeted for removal.
While not considered official crocodile habitat, the Mary River and Fraser Island have been known to host the reptiles over the years.
Two crocodiles were removed from the Mary River in 2013 and 2014 but investigations into several other reported sightings since have not resulted in the confirmed the presence of a crocodile population.
"State-wide spotlight surveys conducted as far south as Hervey Bay over the last four years have not produced any evidence to suggest crocodile populations are or have extended further south," the spokesperson continued.
Infrequent confirmed sightings in the region have generally been subadult crocodiles 2m to 3m in length "likely making an exploratory journey down and back."
After a sighting is reported, officials survey the area by land or boat looking for evidence including slide masks and nests.
The spokesperson also pointed out dugons, lizards and turtles were often mistaken for crocodiles.
The department urged communities to report all sightings as crocodiles are very mobile reptiles capable of long distance coastal movements.
Sightings can be reported by calling 1300 130 372.
All reported crocodile sightings are investigated.