CROCODILES are part of life in Central Queensland and a new app developed by the Department of Environment and Science is designed to keep locals safe.
A population explosion of the prehistoric predators has seen numbers rise to more than 100,000 animals in the wild, since saltwater crocodiles were declared a protected species in 1971.
A team of researchers from Charles Darwin University is leading a three-year study aimed at informing future policy decisions on saltwater crocodile management and assessing how much longer the environment could sustain their population growth.
Led by Dr Keller Koph, the researchers are working to understand the ecological role of crocodiles in waterways.
“From examples that we have from around the world, there are unexpected benefits of having large predator populations,” Dr Koph said.
Crocodiles are known to be found as far south as Hervey Bay, occasionally further, and are regularly sighted in CQ waterways from Agnes Water and Gladstone, north to Rockhampton and Yeppoon.
The new Qwildlife app aims to help make waterways in croc country safer by delivering real time information about crocodile sightings to wildlife officers and members of the public.
Department of Environment and Science DES Northern Wildlife Operations director Lindsay Delzoppo encouraged communities in croc country to download the app and use it whenever they spot a crocodile.
“Uploading a crocodile’s location, size, time of day and any photographs of the animal that can be safely taken will help DES wildlife officers to better manage risks associated with crocodiles,” Mr Delzoppo said.
“The Qwildlife app will give our wildlife officers immediate access to the most recent information about crocodile sightings and place them at the forefront of the world’s best-practice crocodile management system.
“The new app will allow wildlife officers to respond to crocodile sightings and incidents more efficiently than the previous phone-based system, and it will give the public access to most recent information about crocodile sightings.
“This innovative app will also be used to promote CrocWise information to help communities stay informed and be CrocWise in croc country.
Mr Delzoppo said under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan (QCMP), DES was committed to education and awareness to reduce the risk of crocodile and human interaction.
“The Qwildlife app will be an innovative addition to the QCMP and increases the Department’s ability to gather information and manage and target problem crocodiles,” he said.
“Crucially, the app will help keep people safer and will be important for croc country communities, anglers, boaties and recreational river users.
“The identification and removal of problem crocodiles is a key function of our wildlife officers who will continue work closely with local governments and Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ).
“This shared approach to the management of crocodiles has proven to be extremely effective.”
To download the Qwildlife app visit the app store on your smart phone.