UPDATE: Crocodile warning signs at Woodgate were erected because an unconfirmed sighting was reported to the Department of Environment and Science. Read more.
EARLIER: It's been dubbed CROCGATE — Woodgate residents were puzzled when crocodile warning signs were briefly erected in the seaside community despite no known sightings.
Official Queensland Government signage was spotted next to the main boat ramp on the Woodgate esplanade.
The sign read ‘WARNING recent crocodile sighting in this area’ and indicated no one should be swimming at the location.
Perplexed residents snapped photos of the sign which is understood to have now been removed.
Whoever installed the sign got their bearings wrong by about 200km.
The official CrocWatch website says ‘Croc country’ begins at the Boyne River near Gladstone and sweeps north across suitable crocodile habitat, including coastal estuaries and rivers, offshore islands and wetlands, sometimes hundreds of kilometres inland.
Bundaberg Regional Council divisional representative Cr Bill Trevor said in all his years living in the area he had never seen a crocodile, nor heard of a legitimate sighting, in Woodgate.
“Woodgate is well known for its safe swimming beach, with Fraser Island providing a protective shelter around it,” Cr Trevor said.
“Woodgate is somewhat of a natural sanctuary, home to many native wildlife, but crocodiles are one native animal that North Queensland can keep!”
While it is unclear what reports the department may have received to prompt the placement of crocodile warning signs, Cr Trevor said it was possibly just a case of Chinese whispers.
“There are certainly no crocodiles in the Woodgate area that I am aware of.”
- UPDATE: A commenter on the Bundaberg Now Facebook post said there's also a sign at Theodolite Creek. “Saw it just after my son went for a swim on Sunday afternoon,” she said.
- Other news: Crocodiles really will be spotted in Gin Gin this weekend with library reading mascots Snappy and Toothy putting some bite into Children's Week!