30 January 2024
Recent concerns about increasing crocodile sightings in Queensland have prompted discussions on potential culls. However, a closer look reveals the situation is more complex.
Striking a balance between human activities and preserving ecosystems remains a significant issue, especially in Queensland, where there are encounters with flying foxes, dingoes and crocodiles.
Record number of crocodile sightings in Queensland
Recently, there has been considerable debate surrounding crocodiles. In 2023, the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation reported a record number of crocodile sightings in Queensland, prompting concerns and calls for culls by the Katter Party. However, this increase in sightings requires a comprehensive understanding of population dynamics and habitat conditions.
Slow and variable crocodile population recovery
Wildlife Queensland has been advised that the annual growth in the population in 2023 was about 2%. The estimated crocodile population of Queensland is 25,000 to 30,000, with about 80% occurring north of Cooktown. The Queensland population started from a relatively low base, and recovery has been slow and variable across the State since 1974 when hunting was banned.
The spatial distribution of crocodiles in Queensland has changed little over time, and there is no indication of a significant southward expansion of their range. The crocodile population is highly unlikely to reach the size or density of the Northern Territory due to the lack of suitable habitat.
Crocwise initiative manages human-crocodile interactions
Government initiatives such as Crocwise have been instrumental in managing human-crocodile interactions. In 2023, 48 problematic crocodiles were addressed through relocation or, in extreme cases, euthanasia. However, tragic incidents underscore the importance of public awareness and responsible behaviour in crocodile habitats.
“Wildlife Queensland acknowledges calls for legislative reforms to enforce safety measures in croc country. While Minister Leanne Linard reassures that culling is not under consideration, sustaining effective management strategies requires adequate funding and resources,” says Wildlife Queensland Policies and Campaigns Manager Des Boyland.
In conclusion, the Queensland community can thrive alongside wildlife while safeguarding biodiversity for future generations by fostering a culture of respect and understanding.
Queensland Government’s top tips to Be Crocwise
- Stay at least 5m from the water’s edge.
- Dispose of your food and fish scraps in a bin or take them home.
- Keep your pets on a lead and away from the water’s edge.
- Avoid using small watercraft such as kayaks and paddleboards.
- Stay well away from crocodile traps.
What you can do:
- If you see a crocodile in Queensland, report it to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation by calling 1300 130 372, or report sightings via the QWildlife app.
- Engage with your local representatives to prioritise environmental funding and ensure the region’s continued harmonious relationship between humans and wildlife.
Read more about how to Be Crocwise in Croc Country.