27 September 2023

QLD crocodile program world class say experts

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The Department of Environment and Science’s Crocodile Management Program has been declared world class by an independent, expert review.

The review, by the Crocodile Management Independent Expert Evaluation Committee, found the program to be highly effective in reducing the risks to public safety while conserving populations in the wild.

Chaired by Queensland’s Chief Scientist, Hugh Possingham, the Committee evaluated all aspects including the Department’s response to estuarine crocodile sighting reports; the removal of problem crocodiles; delivery of its Be Crocwise community education program; and scientific monitoring and crocodile research.

The committee made 22 recommendations for improving estuarine crocodile management in Queensland, all of which have been accepted by the Department.

Professor Possingham said the committee was very impressed with the professionalism and dedication of Departmental staff involved in implementing the Crocodile Management Program.

“The committee also found the Department’s approach to crocodile management is pragmatic, robust and fit for purpose,” Professor Possingham said.

“Overall, the committee’s report confirms the Queensland Government has the balance right.”

While Queensland’s crocodile population has recovered from near extinction in the 1970s when commercial hunting was banned, its overall distribution has not significantly changed, and there is no evidence the population has expanded southwards.

Very few river systems in Queensland approach the density seen in the Northern Territory, and around only 20 per cent of crocodiles are located along the coast between Cooktown and Rockhampton.

Minister for the Environment, Meaghan Scanlon said the Department had recently appointed and funded two new regional positions dedicated to implementing the Be Crocwise community safety education program across croc country.

The Committee’s 72-page report and Government response can be accessed at this PS News link.

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