CDU croc expert questions Government survey 


Crocodile experts have responded to the Queensland Government's croc survey claiming the only way the reptiles' numbers would be declining would be if crocs were eating each other competing for food.

Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr recently released results from the department's 2007 survey of crocodiles amid claims of a population rise in urban areas.

The survey of 47 rivers and creeks was conducted by about 20 rangers along 767 km of waterway from the Cape to Gladstone in which a total of 289 saltwater crocs were counted, including 112 hatchlings.

The results would suggest crocodile numbers in the north are not exploding, they are in fact dwindling.

But Charles Darwin University crocodile expert Dr Corey Bradshaw was dubious about the survey's results.

"Overall the densities might be underestimated," Dr Bradshaw said.

"That's what generally happens when you do these surveys. You don't see all the animals. I just find that extremely low and unbelievable."

The survey was carried out during a three-week period during March and April this year, with rangers spotlighting for the reptiles at night.

But Dr Bradshaw questioned both the locations and timing of the survey.

"A lot of the breeding animals are in the swamps during the breeding season, but a lot of them stay there during the dry season as well," he said.

"It's estimated in the Territory that up to 60 per cent of all crocodiles are outside the main river channels.

"So if you're only going in the main river channels, which you generally do for a spotlight survey, you are probably bustling at estimating the total population size."