Crocodile Hunting – Who Pulls the Trigger a $25000 Question
The crocodile hunting debate has been ongoing for some time now. The ABC’s James Puritll opened it up this week with some interesting facts and figures on the iconic crocodile.
Earlier this year, after a fatal crocodile attack, local MP Bob Katter called for safari hunting to control the unprecedented number of crocodiles.
Experts believe the once critical crocodile numbers are now holding at a steady level. It is believed the populations are now back to their “natural balance”.
“It may be difficult to continue arguing crocs need to be conserved. In 1985, when numbers were still going up, it was judged the species in Australia was no longer threatened with extinction.”
With the Federal government pushing to ‘Develop the North’ and increase the human population. More and more Australians are living in croc territory. With 10 people killed in the past 15 years there has been renewed calls for culling.
The staunchest defenders of wild crocodiles from now on may be those who have a stake in their commercial exploitation. -The growing leather industry relies on croc eggs harvested from the wild. Earlier this year, the NT Government released a new plan that upped the annual quota of wild-harvested eggs to 90,000. It means that remote parts of the NT have become effectively industrialised. Now breeding grounds for future handbags, briefcases, shoes and fine watch bands.
Mick Pitman (Crocodile Mick) believes any sort of cull of crocodiles is a huge wasted opportunity.
"We're looking at a valuable resource," he says. "If we had a cull you could see most of them sitting on the bank doing absolutely nothing but rotting."
Mick argues there is a queue of wannabe croc hunters willing to pay up to $25,000 to shoot an Australian saltie - the world's most aggressive. The NT has an annual quota for 1,200 so-called 'problem crocs'.
"One shot, we're changing the trigger puller and increasing it by $25,000," he said.
"All we want to do is involve another person to increase the economics."
With numbers stable and more and more salt water crocodiles being removed professionally, it is a no brainier that some form of safari industry needs to be set up around crocodiles. At $25,000 a pop I unfortunately won’t see a crocodile hunt in my lifetime. However, the Northern Territory economy should surely be able to capitalise.