Rangers shoot croc at Cairns swimming hole
A CROCODILE that posed an "unacceptable" risk to the public at a popular Cairns swimming hole has been shot dead by rangers.
The Department of Environment and Science has confirmed that its wildlife officers humanely euthanised a 2.2m long saltwater crocodile that had been targeted for removal from Ross and Locke, along the Mulgrave River.
A department spokeswoman said under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan, the Goldsborough aquatic recreation area was located within Zone C, meaning any croc 2m or greater in length, or any smaller croc displaying dangerous behaviour, was targeted for removal.
"Due to the unacceptable risk to the community, and the difficult location for trapping purposes, a decision was made to humanely euthanise the crocodile," she said.
"The decision was made as a last resort."
The croc was initially spotted by a member of the public on the river bank on March 19.
DES wildlife officers carried out night patrols of the area, confirming the animal's presence at the upstream end of the waterhole.
Due to localised flooding and high stream flows in the Mulgrave River, however, the rangers were unable to access the river immediately.
Mountain View Hotel manager Sherrie McDonald said locals were very concerned about the presence of crocodiles at Ross and Locke
The reserve is listed as a popular swimming spot on several websites, including Wild Swimming Australia, which makes note of a rope swing tied to an overhanging tree "so you can launch yourself into the water, or float downstream on a lilo."
"You still see lots of people swimming down there," Ms McDonald said.
"A local reckoned they saw a croc there about two weeks ago.
"I believe there are crocs in there, but it's still a concern that there are people swimming there."
The Mulgrave River, according to DES, is known croc country and people are urged to expect crocodiles in all Far North Queensland waterways - even if there is no warning sign.
There has been two confirmed sightings of crocs at Ross and Locke in two years.