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(generated from captions) be going the other way.Sabra Lane with that report. Far North Queensland was once a remote and sparsely populated frontier but with a booming population, cities like Cairns are encroaching further on bushland and creeks, prime habitat for crocodiles. The threat of croc attack has locals worried. The State Government has respond would a new zero-tolerance approach and dispatched rangers to catch them in record numbers. It's stirred up passionate debate among scientists and citizens alike. Matt Wordsworth went on patrol with the croc rangers to get a first-hand look at their work. It's just after 10pm on a Monday night. While most of nearby Cairns prepares for bed, Mike Joyce and his team of wildlife rangers are only just getting to work. So what's the plan tonight, Mike? What we're going to do is do some survey work up the creek so we've got a couple of boats going out tonight to do some survey work, utsea what crocodiles are there and that allows us to set traps and make sure we can do that side of our business. The best place for a trap is where a croc feeds which is usually after dark. So tonight the rangers will sweep Tomatis Creek with a spotlight, trying to pick up the shine of a croc's eyes. We can see it now.In the lead boat, ranger Tom has spotted an animal by the water's edge. Now they must close in to get an idea of its size. Those details, along with the GPS coordinates, are all recorded. It's a practice repeated every two to four weeks and tomorrow they'll check the traps they've already set to see if they've got the pzs right. - the positions right. The flurry of activity has been prompted by community concerns about crocs throughout the far north. This is training because it's the last one we're going to do before we go to Mackay. Fiona Grant is overseeing Nipper training at tourist haven Pom Cove. She says recent croc sightings at the beach have put many off. We've noticed that lot of parents have come and joined and then have become concerned and have left and not come back. We've had lot of parents ring and say that with the numbers in the water at the moment they don't feel safe letting their children in the water. That's a bloke's foot. Look at the size of that croc. Col Sparks is surf life saving's regional manager and a member of the State Government's crocodile advisory committee. How big do you think that would be? 3 to 4m. How far away from here was that found? That's Deadman Creek so you're talking second creek down as you're going down. You're talking probably a K and a half. Do you think that's an accidents waiting to happen? They all are. They're all accidents waiting to happen. It's going to happen. We're going to lose a kid. That's my biggest fear.The Queensland Government has responded with a new management plan that carves large areas between Townsville and Cairns into three zones. Zones one is a complete exclusion area where preventative barriers are constructed. Zone two areas require crocs over 2m in length to be trapped except in metropolitan Cairns where all crocs are removed. In zone three, animals are only taken if aggressive. All are offered free of charge to croc farms for breeding purposes. Mike, are you noticing more in the river systems and on the beaches et cetera? Look, I knew you were going to ask that question fl I think the end answer to that is, no, we don't. For us it's pretty much the same, it's business as usual. We're not seeing any major changes. The new plan means plenty of work and today the rangers are back in Tomatis Creek checking a trap. Ranger Tom signals the gate's been triggered so the team is hoping it's a croc inside. We have an animal. Excellent.They've been watching this croc for days, luring it in with chickens then finally setting the gate. Now it's the dangerous part, wrangling the croc is not a high-tech business. A slitted bamboo pole is used to loop three ropes around its jaw. Then it's all about technique. Nice and slow, start to pull. Pull. Keep going. Keep going. Round to the side. Not bad. Keep going, keep going, keep going. Get into position. Legs up.It's been a record haul. 27 so far this year and more work than the team can handle. The State Government is now preparing to appoint a private croc hunter to assist. If we were talking about a river like the muroochy river with 160,000 people living on the Sunshine Coast and that river was breeding crocodiles in the same way the Barren River has, I think southeast Queensland would have a very different perspective and probably agree whole-heartedly with the approach we're taking in North Queensland.But one of the country's leading crocodile experts says the new management plan is dangerous. What this is going to do is lead people into a false sense of security and that they will feel that it's an exclusion zone so there's no crocodiles around, it's OK to wade into the water, go for a swim and put themselves alt threat. My feeling is this a disaster waiting to happen.Professor Craig Franklin has only recently returned from his own research trip to Far North Queensland where he captures crocs and attaches tracking devices. The crocodile can travel 60km in the dark t can move from the coastline from river system to river system and it can walk across land. He also says removing crocs is tampering with the eco system. The Government needs to listen to what we know about these animals and to focus more of their effort on education than spending what I think will be an exorbitant amount of money catching every crocodile nrkcluding little hatchlings, from these proactive removal zones.But with a new private contractor bolstering the work of State Government rangers, 2014 is shaping as another record year for croc catchers. We will continue to remind North Queenslanders that there is always that risk. What we are trying to do is to reduce the chances of that risk actually manifesting itself. We are entitled to use our beach said just like people are down south and if they had crocodiles turn up on the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast, I'm sure there would be a cry on and we want to be able to use