Challenge on to find North’s biggest croc
A CAPE York tour operator has thrown down a challenge for Far North Queenslanders to prove they have the largest crocodiles in Australia.
Ecologist Brian Ross, the new owner of tour company Cockatours, believes the wilds of Cape York are home to monster-sized crocs that easily overshadow their famed NT cousins.
"I reckon it's about the time we should be seeing the growth of real monsters again," he said.
"The culling stopped in the '70s and back then, all the big ones would have been hunted out.
"Now we should be seeing these big buggers that are coming back in."
Cape York Peninsula is renowned for its large crocodiles, with an 8.63m long croc shot by skin trader Krystina Pawloski on the Norman River's MacArthur Bank in 1957.
There have also been reports of a 9.1m long croc - believed to be the biggest crocodile in the world - stalking waters near Normanton in recent years.
Mr Ross, who worked for Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation, is no stranger to saltwater crocodiles, encountering the reptiles regularly in his work with the region's rangers.
This included a 4.1m saltie that graced the front page of the Cairns Post in November 2015, after Mr Ross found it "bogged" in a mudhole on the Southern Wik Homelands, about 100km south of Aurukun.
"These crocs should be back in our river and creek systems again," he said.
"Now that they can hide safely and not be shot, we should start seeing the big buggers back in our systems."
He urged Far North Queenslanders to send in photos and footage of large crocs they safely encountered in the wild, offering a $200 BCF gift voucher who can prove they have spied the largest animal.
So far, he has been sent pics of 4m plus predators from the tip of Cape York, through to 14ft (4.2m) reptiles south of Tully.
"I reckon there are a lot of big crocs around the top end of Cape York that people aren't photographing," he said.