Concerns raised over ‘escapee’ croc
A LARGE crocodile found 60km away from the coast is feared to be an escapee from a Far Northern croc farm.
The 3.5m long saltwater croc has been spotted at least twice in the past fortnight at Two Mile Creek at Biboohra, near Mareeba.
The reptile was last seen on Tuesday, a few hundred metres away from Melaleuca Cro
codile Farm, leading some locals to suggest the large predator may be an escapee.
Mareeba Chamber of Commerce vice president Sam Musumeci said it was a worry that such a large croc had been spotted so far from its traditional habitat.
He said the Department of Environment and Science needed to be more proactive about croc management on the Tablelands, given it was unusual territory for the animals.
"As far as we're concerned, saltwater crocs are an introduced species here, and they shouldn't be here," he said.
"We haven't got any evidence that it's come from the croc farm, but it's just 500m away, so it's pretty hard to ignore."
The chamber, in response to several croc sightings in the same area two years ago, has urged residents to report sightings immediately to DES.
Wildlife officers set a trap in the creek yesterday.
Truck driver Dino Licitra, who photographed the croc on Tuesday while driving past a causeway along Pickford Rd, was astonished by the reptile's size.
"I've never seen a saltie in Mareeba before: it shouldn't be here," he said.
"There's no reason for it to be here, whatsoever.
"My thoughts are, if there's one, there's others."
A DES spokesman said the department was unable to determine where the croc had come from, but it monitored all croc farms for compliance with approvals under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Melaleuca Crocodile Farm was contacted for comment.