Wildlife officers hone their skills to catch a croc

Issued: 25 Feb 2022

Photo of Wildlife Officers installing a croc trap on the Fitzroy River

Wildlife Officers installing a croc trap on the Fitzroy River.

When it comes to managing crocodiles, wildlife officers from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) need to be on top of their game.

Earlier this month, a group of wildlife officers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service undertook a two-day course at Rockhampton to enhance their ability to safely manage the giant reptiles and will now be better placed to use these unique skills in the field.

Wildlife officers undertake regular training to ensure they are equipped with the latest skills to assess crocodile behaviour, transport and install traps.

These practices help keep themselves, the public and the crocs safe in Queensland’s Croc Country. Problem crocodiles are removed and rehomed at croc farms or zoos.

Using the correct methods of tracking, assessing, trapping or removing a croc are not only essential to the safety of the officers, but also to the safety and wellbeing of the animals.

The training included the towing and setting up of croc traps, a night-time survey of the Fitzroy River and lessons in crocodile behaviour and anatomy.

Southern Wildlife and Threatened Species Operations Manager Frank Mills said it was crucial for wildlife officers to regularly practice and update their croc management skills to ensure they are ready to act in a high-pressure environment.

“Estuarine crocodiles can grow more than five metres long and weigh more than 500 kilos, and as with all wild animals they have minds of their own, which means our wildlife officers need to be able to act calmly, safely and with confidence while in the field,” Mr Mills said.

Further training is planned in the future to provide these wildlife officers with the opportunity to develop and refine their croc management abilities.

Wildlife officers undertake a great deal of training to ensure the safe movement of crocodiles which is regularly reviewed. It is an offence for anyone who is not authorised to catch or move a crocodile.

Members of the public are reminded to always be Crocwise while in Croc Country. In particular:

  • Expect crocodiles in ALL northern Queensland waterways even if there is no warning sign
  • Obey all warning signs – they are there to keep you safe
  • Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night
  • Stay well away from croc traps – that includes fishing and boating
  • The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks
  • Stand back from the water’s edge when fishing and don’t wade in to retrieve a lure
  • Camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water
  • Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near water, camp site or boat ramp
  • Never provoke, harass or feed crocs
  • Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead
  • Remember, you are responsible for your own safety in Croc Country
  • Report all croc sightings to DES by calling 1300 130 372.

Find further information on being Crocwise.