4m saltie spotted metres from swimmers at popular tourist spot
Port Douglas' world famous Four Mile Beach was closed for about four hours yesterday after a 4 metre saltwater crocodile came within about 30 metres of people enjoying the iconic stretch of sand.
It is the second time in a week that a croc has been seen cruising in waters off the beach, with swimmers allowed back in the water about 2pm.
The latest sighting comes a week after the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection removed a crocodile trap it had set in Dickson Inlet for a month, targeting a large croc that was reported in the inlet that was regarded as a possible threat to swimmers on Four Mile Beach, as reported by News Corp.
Port Douglas surf lifesavers say the distance between the patrolled area at the northern end of the beach and the rest of the strip, as well as the large number of tourists enjoying a swim in the area, can make it a challenge to let everyone know the beach was closed.
Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett said authorities are reacting to and handling crocodile sightings in the local area well.
"The lifesavers are patrolling the beach to ensure swimmers safety," she said.
"Actions have been taken, and certainly our council has been very active in ensuring EHP have changed the zoning up this way.
"We are now seeing more responsiveness from the department, not just through education about crocodiles but actions as well."
Surf lifesavers re-opened the beach about 2pm with no sightings of the crocodile for about four hours, in line with their croc management procedures.