Footage of a saltwater crocodile suddenly launching from a creek and attacking a tourist has reignited the debate on culling in far north Queensland.
Video of the 2 to 2.5-metre reptile leaping out of the water at Cape Tribulation, injuring a 24-year-old woman, has gone viral since it was posted late on Monday by Ally Bullifent.
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection confirmed a tourist was attacked at a creek in Cape Tribulation.
A Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said the woman was treated at Mossman Hospital for lacerations to the left thigh and was discharged overnight.
A video of the attack and a photo of the injury has so far garnered more than 1840 shares and more than 800 comments.
Posted by Ally Bullifent on Monday, November 27, 2017
Outspoken Kennedy MP Bob Katter has responded to the footage, arguing crocodile removal was the answer to prevent injuries and deaths.
“We are trying to track down the people involved [in the Cape Tribulation attack],” he said.
“We are averaging an incident every month now.
“Our proposition is total removal [of crocodiles and their eggs] from more populated areas which means from Mackay to Port Douglas. The Daintree is a mixed bag … [there we need] a removal program but not a total removal program.”
Mr Katter said the closeness of the state election results so far could mean Katter’s Australian Party would have leverage to push their controversial crocodile management ideas.
“This issue is for the state members to decide,” he said.
“The near-balance of power situation in Brisbane [will mean] we will have the leverage to get something done.
“For all those people that voted for us to do something about crocodiles, God bless you, and those that didn’t, well let it [crocodile attacks] be upon your conscience.”
“If you remove crocs they just come back again.”
Crocodile may be removed from creek
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) confirmed the attack and said it would look at removing the crocodile in question.
“The woman was bitten on the leg by an estuarine crocodile, believed to be between 2 and 2.5 metres in length, while she was standing on a creek bank close to the water’s edge,” a department spokesperson said.
“Wildlife officers will carry out a site assessment of the area today and will potentially target the animal for removal.”
Under the current Queensland Crocodile Management Plan, Cape Tribulation is in Zone E – general management zone.
This means crocodiles displaying dangerous behaviour are targeted for removal.
‘We need to educate people’
David White, a local tourism operator in the Daintree region and a passionate advocate against crocodile culling, believes education is key to prevent injuries like this.
“She could have been killed,” he said.
“We need to educate people on the dangers of being on the beach at night time.”
He said tourists were not educated enough about croc safety in the region.
“In Darwin there are brochures in hire cars, hotel rooms, videos on planes about the NT being croc country and although we [far north Queensland locals] think it’s obvious, people don’t know [about crocodile safety],” he said.
Mr Katter disagreed, saying the sheer number of waterways in far north Queensland meant it was impossible for people to avoid going near waterways.
“If you educate tourists you won’t have any,” he said.
“And we all know what happens then.
“We need nature to be brought back into balance.”
Labor candidate for Cook Cynthia Lui, who the ALP has predicted will take the seat, had the video brought to her attention on Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s scary but it’s also scary you would place yourself in that position. It’s about being croc-wise,” she said.
“Culling is a sensitive issue and I’ve said I will not support it. What I will support is better awareness and the crocodile management plan that is already in place.”
Last year a 4.3-metre crocodile killed 46-year-old woman Cindy Waldron as she waded into waist-deep water in Cape Tribulation at night.
That animal was later captured and euthanased.
The ABC has contacted the tourist who posted the footage and she declined to comment.