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Carpentaria Bay: a warning to tourists about a popular place to swim

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Authorities have warned tourists to stay away from one major bathing spot in North Queensland, which is known to be infested with marine crocodiles.

The local council said warning signs and the risk of death had not prevented people from swimming and fishing in the waters of Carpentaria Bay in the small coastal town of Karumba, an eight-hour drive west of Cairns.

Carpenter Council Executive Director Shire Mark Crowley said he spent weeks trying to persuade tourists, who in some cases were waist-deep, not to enter the waters covered by the reptiles.

“People ignore the signs and go swimming, and it only provides an appetite for predators,” he said.

“There have been reports of dogs disappearing, and we have walking tours in Karumba, so they are there.”

Camera iconIt is known that sea crocodiles inhabit a popular bathing spot in Karumba. Supplied by / FNQ Nature Tours Credit: Supplied

Mr Crowley said the village – home to less than 600 people – is a fishing paradise and many people use the coastline as a landfill for fish fillets.

“The crocodiles ate them, and now they come and ask for more,” he said.

Dangerous waters are also inhabited by bull sharks, tiger sharks and jellyfish stings.

There are concerns about the survival of a crocodile attack in the area, to the nearest major hospital more than a 6 and a half hour drive. “It’s also a concern, directly, because you know we’re a little (far) away from a major trauma center,” Mr Crowley said.

Mr Crowley believes the number of crocodiles has grown since the legal protection of deadly species in 1974.

“I think the number has increased because there is no culling. And you know, there aren’t that many predators for a crocodile, ”he said.

“Recently, I’ve seen reports that they’re now going further inland in search of food, so they’re actually moving away from their own natural habitat.”

Data show that the number of estuarine crocodiles – the world’s largest species of reptiles – increased by 2.2 percent from 2018 to 2021.

In 1974, only 5,000 crocodiles lived in Sunshine, but new research has found about 30,000 mature animals.

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/gulf-of-carpentaria-warning-to-tourists-about-popular-swim-spot-c-6840311

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