Wildlife officers are considering the use of nooses and skin-deep harpoons to wrangle a crocodile suspected of eating a dog on a popular tourist beach.
Wildlife officers are considering the use of nooses and skin-deep harpoons to wrangle a crocodile suspected of eating a dog on a popular tourist beach.

Clock ticks for dog-devouring croc at busy beach

NOOSES and skin-deep harpoons could be used to wrangle a problem crocodile suspected of eating a dog on a popular Cairns tourist beach.

The Department of Environment and Science has confirmed it received a report of a "possible" crocodile attack on a dog at Palm Cove on Wednesday last week, and a further sighting yesterday.

"The person reporting the incident last Wednesday advised DES that the crocodile may have taken a dog they had been walking along the beach at the time, after the dog had run out of sight," a department spokesman said.

"The person making the report did not see the crocodile take the dog."

A crocodile of 2.5-3m in length suns itself on a creek bank beside the most popular tourist beach in Cairns just days after eating a local resident's pet dog. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A crocodile of 2.5-3m in length suns itself on a creek bank beside the most popular tourist beach in Cairns just days after eating a local resident's pet dog. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

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Regardless, wildlife officers have been sent to conduct a site inspection of the area after a crocodile was seen in the estuarine lagoon behind the beach at Palm Cove.

"DES does not promote the view that nothing can be done about a crocodile at Palm Cove, due to it 'being in its natural habitat'," the spokesman said.

"This Palm Cove area is designated as Zone B under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan.

"This is an 'active removal zone', which means that all crocodiles found are targeted for removal by DES contractors, regardless of the size or behaviour of the animal."

A sign at the southern end of Palm Cove beach alerts visitors to a recent croc sighting in the area. PICTURE: PETER CARRUTHERS
A sign at the southern end of Palm Cove beach alerts visitors to a recent croc sighting in the area. PICTURE: PETER CARRUTHERS

A trap in the area has so far failed to catch the crocodile, so more direct capture methods may be attempted.

"The contractors are highly skilled and use a variety of methods, such as using nooses or harpoons," the spokesman explained.

"Harpooning does not cause any harm to the crocodile, but results in a hook into the animals' leathery skin allowing the animal to be hauled into the boat

"DES asks members or the public to report any crocodile seen in the area as soon as possible."

A crocodile trap has failed to capture a 2.5-3m crocodile suspected of eating one dog and attacking another. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A crocodile trap has failed to capture a 2.5-3m crocodile suspected of eating one dog and attacking another. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Crocodile sightings can be reported on 1300 130 372.

The department investigates all reports it receives.

The DES spokesman said Palm Cove was within known "croc country" and it was vitally important that everyone in Far North Queensland practised "croc-wise" behaviour.

In particular:

Obey crocodile signs - they are there for your own protection

■ Never swim in water where crocodiles may live, even if there is no warning sign present

■ When fishing, always stand a few metres back from the water's edge and never stand on logs or branches overhanging the water

■ Never clean fish or discard fish scraps near the water's edge or at boat ramps

■ Stay well back from any crocodile slide marks. Crocodiles may still be close and may approach people and boats

■ Keep your arms or legs inside of the boat when fishing

■ Never provoke, harass or interfere with crocodiles - even small ones

■ Never feed crocodiles - it is illegal and dangerous

■ Never leave food scraps at your campsite. Always check that previous campers haven't left any food scraps

■ Never prepare food, wash dishes or pursue any other activities near the water's edge or adjacent sloping banks

■ Be more aware of crocodiles during the breeding season - September to April.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Clock ticks for dog-devouring croc at busy Cairns beach


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