Expert says croc could have roamed to Coast
AN EXPERT says it is possible for crocodiles to be in Sunshine Coast waters.
Professor Craig Franklin, a University of Queensland zoologist who has spent 15 years studying crocodiles, said he was not surprised about a reported sighting of a crocodile in Coolum Creek.
A 14-year-old boy paddling a ski in search of fishing spots reportedly saw the crocodile on a tributary just south of the West Coolum Road boat ramp, north of the creek's confluence with the Maroochy River, on Monday morning.
Alex Ranson saw the 2m crocodile on the bank but said it slid into the water at the noise of two men on approaching tinnie, who warned him to get out of there.
While Alex Ranson paddled as fast as he could back to his father at the ramp, two men in the tinnie told his family about the crocodile.
Prof Franklin said it was not unknown for crocodiles to be this far south in Queensland.
"There's crocodiles that have been spotted in the Mary River and crocodiles have been spotted on Fraser Island in the past year," he said.
"Not many people know that there used to be crocodiles in the Brisbane River 100 years ago."
It is possible the crocodile could have originated in north Queensland and swum up the Maroochy River into Coolum Creek.
Prof Franklin said crocodiles could swim along the coastline, travelling about 5-6km offshore and covering 60km a day.
"We recorded one that did 400km in 20 days," he said.
"Hopefully, it's one they have only roamed this far south rather than bred this far south," he said.
Prof Franklin said a 2m crocodile could be about 10 years old, depending on what sort of life it had led.
He said it could have roamed to the Sunshine Coast because it was an outcast or simply in search of food.
"You never know," he said.
But he also did not rule out that the croc sighting could be a case of mistaken identity and could have been a goanna.
Officers from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection are investigating the Coolum Creek sighting.
If it proves true, the crocodile will be removed.
An EH&P spokesman said any estuarine crocodile south of the Boyne River, near Gladstone was automatically targeted for removal.
"The Boyne River, near Gladstone, is seen as the southern point of estuarine crocodiles' habitat and the limit of known 'croc country'," the spokesman said.
The Department of Environment and Heritage has an unconfirmed report of a crocodile sighting in the Mary River near Kidd Bridge, Gympie, on December 8, and has posted warning signs in response.
Sunshine Coast Council said crocodiles were a matter for the State Government and sightings should be reported to CrocWatch on 1300 130 372.