By Matthew Killoran & Peter Michael, The Courier Mail
CROCODILES should be taken off the protected species list because their numbers are exploding and endangering swimmers in north Queensland, according to two key crossbenchers.
Katter’s Australian Party MPs Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth met with federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg in Canberra last night, who reiterated his support for a crocodile cull in Queensland — if the State Government requested one.
Cairns-bred croc catcher Matt Wright says the answer is more simple, with new trapping methods, a state-run holding facility and croc egg harvesting able to control the threat of the deadly predator.
The calls follow a spate of crocodile attacks in March and April, including on an 18-year-old who was mauled at Innisfail and a 35-year-old fisherman who was killed south of the town.
A pet dog was reportedly taken by one of the reptiles at a property north of Innisfail.
Crocodiles are currently listed as vulnerable, which gives them protection against hunting and limits culling.
Mr Katter said last night’s meeting was positive and he would continue to push the State and Federal Governments to change the listing.
“Everyone knows their population has exploded and they’re moving further and further up streams. We know they’re not endangered,” he said.
“Everyone who will resist will be pandering to the interests of the urban elites in the city who don’t have to swim in these waterways.”
Mr Frydenberg said human safety came first and the recent attacks showed there was a good case for stronger action.
“The Palaszczuk Government needs to put the public’s safety first and put forward a proposal for an exemption, which I would fully and promptly consider,” he said.
The State Government has previously rejected any form of croc cull and is working on a crocodile management plan.
Mr Wright, star of The Outback Wrangler hit TV series, warned against a widespread cull on crocs.
“It is not hard to catch wild crocodiles. It is hard work, but if you use the right bait, put the traps in the right place, it takes one or two days – three max.
“We might have to shoot a few that are too hard to trap,” the former soldier said.
Matt Wright is exclusively managed by The Fordham Company.