Australia shoots down 'cruel' crocodile hunt plan

Mar 27, 2014
A saltwater crocodile lies on the banks of the Adelaide river near Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory

Australia on Thursday rejected a plan to let big-game hunters shoot crocodiles in the country's tropical north, saying the scheme risked encouraging "cruel and inhumane" behaviour.

Under the proposal about 50 crocodile safaris a year were to be allowed in the Northern Territory, where the giant reptiles have become increasingly common since they were declared a protected species in 1971.

Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the federal government had considered allowing "trophy hunts" but did not believe they were appropriate.

"My view is that there was a risk of cruel and inhumane treatment," he told reporters. "That was, in my view, inappropriate."

Backers of the plan, including the Northern Territory government, argued that around 500 saltwater a year are culled in the area anyway, so safaris would be just another way of killing them.

They also said that hosting big-spending trophy hunters would provide a valuable source of income for the impoverished Aboriginal communities who live in the regions where most crocodiles are found.

The Northern Territory government said the "short sighted and ill-informed decision" to reject the plan squandered a chance to reduce welfare dependency in indigenous communities.

A saltwater crocodile being enticed with meat out of the Adelaide river near Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory

"Crocodile safari hunting is a real opportunity for economic development and it would create wider tourism opportunities," NT Parks and Wildlife Minister Bess Price said.

"Greg Hunt is listening to the wrong people. He needs to listen to the people on the ground in the bush. He has made the wrong decision."

Conservation groups had opposed the plan, saying allowing hunters to blast away at native wildlife would send the wrong message in an area heavily reliant on eco-tourism.

Humane Society International said the Northern Territory government had been unsuccessfully pushing to allow crocodile hunts for 20 years.

"It is time that the Northern Territory stopped taking its proposals from past centuries and instead considers how native animals like can provide benefits such as eco-tourism or other ventures," the campaign group said.

Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven metres (23 feet) long and weigh more than a tonne, are a common feature of Australia's tropical north, with their population estimated at over 150,000.

They kill an average of two people a year. In the latest attack in January a 12-year-old boy was snatched while swimming in a waterhole at the Kakadu National Park east of Darwin.

Explore further: Monster crocodile traps tourist on Australian island

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Australia mulls crocodile safari hunts

Jun 14, 2012

Australia is mulling a plan to allow the trophy hunting of saltwater crocodiles, officials said Thursday, with the controversial idea being thrown open for public comment.

Dog, nappy and football found in Aussie croc

May 16, 2012

Rangers who shot a saltwater crocodile that was terrorising pets in northern Australia found a dog, a pair of shorts, a football and a nappy in its stomach, according to a local report.

Rangers nab year's biggest croc in Australia

Jun 10, 2011

Australian park rangers said on Friday they had caught the year's biggest crocodile, a whopping 4.5 metres (15 feet) beast which had been terrorising fishermen.

Malaysia scientists tag Borneo saltwater crocodile

Jun 29, 2011

Wildlife researchers in Malaysia are to track a saltwater crocodile by satellite, they said Wednesday, in a bid to find out why nearly 40 people have been attacked on Borneo island over a decade.

No place for crocodiles in Philippines: official

Sep 14, 2011

Efforts to save the Philippine crocodile, a "critically endangered" reptile, could go in vain as bureaucrats oppose their release into the wild, a top Philippine environment official said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sinister1812
not rated yet Mar 27, 2014
Good, leave 'em alone. They were nearly extinct once before..

And redneck hunters are never humane towards anything.