Ecologist says Mary River crocs may be long-term locals

AFTER a crocodile sighting from Queens Park sparked calls for the Mary River's famous resident reptiles to be killed, an ecologist has come to their defence.

Wide Bay Burnett Environment Council president Roger Currie said anecdotal evidence from the past 50 years suggested crocs might have inhabited the region for a long time.

He said it was important to remember crocodiles' significant role as an apex predator, meaning that (aside from humans) they were at the top of the food chain.

Mr Currie said it was important to remember that if the crocs were killed, other predators such as bull sharks might increase.

"There could be roles the crocs are playing that we don't know much about."

Mr Currie said it was vital that members of the public were educated and rational when it came to crocodiles in the region.

Commercial fisherman Kevin Greenhalgh, who has come across Mary River crocodiles multiple times, said he remembered hearing about them in the 1950s.

Mr Greenhalgh said he believed there were more crocs in the Mary River now than ever before, perhaps as a result of domineering male crocodiles chasing smaller crocs into new territory.

"I'm no expert but that's my theory - the smaller male has to go somewhere," he said.