Crocodiles to be moved not culled

Yawuru ranger Curtis Robinson re-baiting the Department of Parks and Wildlife crocodile trap in Dampier Creek. Picture: Department of Parks and Wildlife

Problem crocodiles will be trapped and removed from two risk-mitigation areas in Broome and Kununurra instead of being culled under a new five-year management plan released by the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

DPaW Broome/West Kimberley acting district manager Dave Woods acknowledged that crocodile numbers in the Kimberley had increased but said they would only be shot dead "as a last resort".

"There is the odd situation where we do have a problem crocodile that is displaying aggressive behaviour or stalking people in boats or at boat ramps," he said.

"On those particular occasions we will basically go through the normal process to try to track or catch that particular crocodile, and if that's not successful we can, as a last resort, euthanise the crocodile with a firearm."

The risk mitigation zone in Broome would cover an area just south of Willie Creek to Cable Beach and Gantheaume Point to Town Beach and Dampier Creek to Fall Point, just before Crab Creek, and Lake Kununurra in the East Kimberley.

Mr Woods said they were the areas where DPaW would have the responsibility to monitor and remove any problem crocodiles, including Dampier Creek where a trap was set last week after a sighting off Cable Beach.

He said the focus was now on informing the public.

"We are trying to increase the education and raise the public awareness of crocodiles since there has been an increase in the population over the past five to seven years in the Kimberley," he said.

"What we are seeing in Broome is more sightings of crocodiles within that risk mitigation area. Going back 10 to 15 years the (crocodile) population was slightly increasing, but there were still a lot of places that did not have crocodiles residing in mangrove-lined creeks that we have around this area."

Mr Woods said crocodiles were recently more territorial and each new male crocodile had to find his own new territory.

"They are spreading out through their natural range within the Kimberley area, where they normally would live," he said.

Mr Woods said part of education and awareness was making sure there was "personal responsibility".

"We do need to get people's mindsets changed on crocodiles and let them know that there are places where crocodiles exist," he said.

"There is a personal responsibility that people do have and that is how we can negate a lot of the risk for people that live and recreate in the Kimberley in these areas."

A strategy guiding DPaW officers will be made through "raising public awareness" and appropriate behaviour promotion.

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