Be on the look out for the Tiaro croc

THE Tiaro crocodile is officially a fugitive.

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection officers have poured cold water on suggestions the crocodile, photographed near Tiaro two weeks ago, should be allowed to stay. But a final decision will depend on the outcome of the croc hunt currently underway on the Mary River.

The department this week supplied a photograph of officers at work patrolling the Mary, looking for more signs of the croc that came down to the cold.

THE crocodile photographed by turtle conservationists near Tiaro this month may be having more trouble than most of us getting started on these cooler mornings.

Tiaro Landcare's Marilyn Connell said last week the water temperature in the Mary River had remained fairly warm, a situation expected to have begun to change.

The crocodile, believed to be relatively small, is the first undeniably seen and recorded in the Tiaro area since the 1960s.

Signs have now been erected near Tiaro's Petrie Park boat ramp, a popular swimming and camping spot.

A department representative yesterday said the EHP was currently surveying to find the crocodile.

"Photographs captured in night vision taken by a Landcare camera strongly suggest the presence of a crocodile," a representative said.

Wildlife officers are this week continuing to work day and night on the project, even performing spotlight surveys after dark.

But this week it seemed the department may be softening its attitude about removing the crocodile, possibly in the light of a surprisingly strong body of public opinion that it should be left alone, as is the case with crocodiles in many more northern Queensland rivers.

The latest government comments may even indicate doubt as to whether the crocodile is still around.

"If the crocodile is observed, depending on its size and behaviour, EHP will be in a better position to determine any future actions," a department statement said.

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