5 June, 2023
Calls for lake croc removal
A FRESHWATER crocodile in Lake Eacham is causing a stir amongst local swimmers, after it “attacked” a member of the public last week, leaving many anxious about using the popular swimming spot.
The Department of Environment and Science confirmed a male swimmer had a recent “interaction” with the well-known crocodile Thursday before last.
It is believed the man suffered injuries to his hand, knees and shoulders and drove himself to Atherton Hospital, where he was transported to Cairns Hospital.
The attack is the first recorded in recent history and has left many feeling uneasy about using the lake, including the Atherton Mountaineers Masters Swimming Inc club.
Club vice president Kim Christie said the club used to swim in Lake Eacham almost every week but after interactions with the crocodile, they have had to stop.
“The arrival of the crocodile in Lake Eacham reduced the amount of swimming that our club was prepared to organise within Lake Eacham,” he said.
“The crocodile made many of our club members extremely nervous about the chance of having a close encounter.
“As a result, many members have with-drawn from club activities in Lake Eacham because they felt too anxious.
“In recent months, our swims at Lake Eacham have been abandoned after increasing reports of interactions between the crocodile and swimmers.”
Sightings of the crocodile have become more prominent, with many taking to social media to report their encounters.
A local man, who asked not to be named, captured a picture of the crocodile at 5am and sent it to the Yungaburra Park Hotel, who published it on Facebook.
The video of the creature went viral, and the man said it was only a matter of time before someone was bitten.
“I know for a fact that this animal bit somebody and that person spent time in hospital on IV antibiotics as croc bites of any kind can cause very serious infections,” he said.
“The person has been told by wildlife of-ficers that they probably shouldn't go near that location to swim which begs the question of what about everyone else who swims there and does that mean that they will close the lake to all swimming?”
Tablelands Regional Cr David Clifton took to Facebook last week to gauge the views of locals on whether the crocodile should be removed.
Some people agreed that the reptile should be removed, whilst others said peo-ple needed to be more “croc aware” and let it stay.
“I’m not a ‘removalist’ as such but I do think people are worried about swimming there so I will be asking council to work with the department to get it removed,” he said.
When asked by The Express whether the crocodile would be removed, the department failed to answer, but stated that the animal had a “timid nature”.
Later, media reports quoted the department as stating the crocodile would not be removed.
“Unlike estuarine crocodiles, freshwater crocodiles are considered timid and non-life-threatening to humans. Very few incidents have been reported involving freshwater crocodiles and people,” a spokesperson said