Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Northern beaches croc monitoring takes to the skies

    Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Friday, July 13, 2018

    Northern beaches croc monitoring takes to the skies

    Surf life savers in Far North Queensland will soon be using drones to keep an eye from the sky on popular beaches and to improve Crocwise communication, thanks to a $105,000 grant from the Palaszczuk Government.

    In Cairns today, Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said this funding, which was promised during last year’s election, would allow Surf Life Saving Queensland to enhance their involvement in Government’s Crocwise education program.

    “This funding will be used to equip and train surf life savers and allow them to purchase three latest-model drones to keep wildlife officers from the Department of Environment and Science and beach-goers informed about any crocodile activity spotted near popular far northern beaches.

    “This is a great step forward for the Crocwise program in Far North Queensland, which relies greatly on cooperation between different organisations for its success,” Ms Enoch said.

    “Eighteen surf life savers from Mission Beach to Port Douglas will soon be taught how to operate the new drones so they can pass thorough crocodile monitoring information to wildlife officers as soon as an animal has been spotted.”

    Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said surf life savers would be able to use the drones and the updated software to supply the Government with precise information about the size, location, behaviour and direction of travel of crocodiles observed near a beach by the drones.

    “This is a great win for our local Surf Life Saving club,” Mr Crawford said.

    “This funding will not only help SLSQ manage beach-goer safety in Far North Queensland, but the information collected will help our Government learn more about crocodile movements and patterns of behaviour when observed near beaches.

    “The funding will also go towards improving the software used by SLSQ to support its crocodile monitoring work and for SLSQ to carry out Crocwise community engagement activities.”

    SLSQ CEO John Brennan OAM said surf life savers wanted to do everything they could do boost public safety in relation to crocodiles in North Queensland.

    “The potential benefits of this technology are huge, and we’re hoping it will help our surf lifesavers and lifeguards increase protection for beachgoers across North Queensland and minimise the risks of a crocodile attack or incident from occurring,” Mr Brennan said.

    “We’re grateful for the continued support of the Queensland Government, and we look forward to working with all stakeholders moving forward to help increase coastal and aquatic safety across the state.”

    Member for Cairns Michael Healy said wildlife officers from the Department of Environment and Science already worked closely with SLSQ to monitor and respond to crocodile sightings near public beaches.

    “This funding will improve our ability to receive and respond quickly to any information about crocodile sightings collected by the drones,” Mr Healy said.

    Estuarine crocodiles are highly mobile animals and often use oceans to travel long distances between estuaries.

    Far North Queensland is known croc country and everyone, including beach-goers, are reminded to always be Crocwise. In particular:

    • Expect crocodiles in ALL Far North 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 when fishing and boating
    • Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near the water, camp sites or boat ramps
    • Never provoke, harass or feed crocs
    • Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead 
    • Report all croc sightings to DES by calling 1300 130 372

    Crocodile sightings can be reported to the Department of Environment and Science on 1300 130 372 and the department investigates all crocodile reports it receives.

    Further information on being Crocwise is available here: http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/livingwith/crocodiles/crocodiles__be_croc_wise.html

     

    Media contact: 0437 859 987