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The need for consistent measurement of Queensland’s crocodile population

Hamish Campbell writes in The Conversation (2.2.16) that while the Queensland government has undertaken spotlight surveys of crocodile populations since 1972, the investment has been sporadic and not linked to a well-funded and properly replicated program of monitoring.

‘The survey effort to date has been concentrated at a regional scale, with resources being directed to different regions in nonconsecutive years rather than a systematic statewide approach to population monitoring.  Consequently, we do not currently know the size of the crocodile population in Queensland. We don’t know how the population has changed since the ban on hunting, and we certainly don’t know the effects of the current crocodile removal policy on the abundance of nesting females. Consequently, estimating the size of a sustainable egg harvest for Queensland, and where it should occur, would have a high level of uncertainty.

‘Therefore, we should not point the finger at any one person, department, or government for Queensland’s shortfall in monitoring its crocodile population. It is a result of an underappreciation of the intricacies of the task, a failure to understand the objective of the monitoring process, and a lack of sustained government investment.’

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