Howard the Houdini croc eludes rangers
HOWARD the crocodile is still free two months after he was first targeted for eviction from a Far Northern creek, but rangers are not giving up trying to capture him.
The Department of Environment and Science's trap has remained at Saltwater Creek, Miallo since August 23, following a complaint about the 4m saltwater croc's proximity to human habitat.
Locals, however, have been campaigning to keep Howard in the creek, saying the large apex predator has not shown any aggressive behaviour towards humans.
A DES spokesman said given the size of the croc, location and behaviour, Howard was deemed a problem animal.
"Crocodiles that pose a threat to human safety are targeted for removal under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan," he said.
"The department must work to achieve a balance between the need to protect public safety and the need to conserve estuarine crocodile populations in the wild."
In the Far North, the department has removed 30 crocodiles so far this year, out of a total 40 taken from waterways across the state.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said any crocs that posed a high risk to public safety were removed, regardless of length.
"These figures are proof that the government takes this very seriously," she said.
In 2016-17, the government committed $5.8 million over three years to improving croc management in Queensland, including a three-year survey of the vulnerable species' populations across the state.
Early data from the program has shown there is an average density of about one saltwater crocodile per kilometre, significantly less than average densities of the species in the Northern Territory.
Ms Enoch said it was concerning there were still people calling for a cull of crocodiles.
"The fact is that a cull is not a solution to the risks posed by crocodiles," she said.