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Parents tell of grief after croc attack

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/05/2016 By Tracey Ferrier
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The New Zealand-based parents of a woman taken by a croc are preparing to travel to Queensland as the hunt for her body continues.

The suspected death of Cindy Waldron, 46, has reignited debate in Queensland about how best to manage public safety risks posed by the reptiles.

One north Queensland MP is pushing for hunting safaris, saying croc numbers are now at unprecedented levels. But another says the tragedy was avoidable and has blamed human stupidity.

Ms Waldron, who'd been living in rural NSW, was snatched by a croc during a late-night dip at Thornton Beach in the Daintree National Park on Sunday.

Her friend Leeann Mitchell tried in vain to drag her to safety and has been left deeply traumatised.

The missing woman's parents, Pat and Heather Waldron, have spoken of their disbelief as they prepare to travel to Queensland.

"We need to be there on the ground to show that we are there, that we care. Our darling girl is gone," Mr Waldron has told the New Zealand Herald.

Ms Waldron was born in New Zealand, but police say she has been a resident of New South Wales for some time. © Cindy Waldron/Facebook Ms Waldron was born in New Zealand, but police say she has been a resident of New South Wales for some time. He said he learned of Sunday night's tragedy from his daughter's former boyfriend, who was contacted by Ms Mitchell.

"It was a hell of a shock. Then we tried to get a hold of the police but couldn't get a hold of them until quite a bit later. We've had to chase the cops a bit, they haven't been quick in responding."

Far north Queensland federal MP Warren Entsch says the incident shouldn't spark a hysterical debate about crocodile management, and the women can't have been ignorant about the risks of going in the water.

But fellow federal MP Bob Katter is pushing for croc shooting safaris to reduce numbers.

"The numbers of crocodiles have exploded. All of the crocodiles' predators have been removed," he says.

Leading crocodile expert Professor Graham Webb says there's no evidence Queensland's croc population is out of control, and keeping people safe is about managing human behaviour.

He says visitors to the Daintree area are routinely warned about the dangers crocs pose, and the Thornton Beach incident is a typical case of misadventure.

A recent article published by the independent commentary and research site The Conversation said Queensland lacked a rigorous survey system to determine how numbers have recovered since hunting was banned in 1974.

It said Queensland could not provide a decent estimate of current croc numbers because survey efforts had been sporadic.

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