Exploding Crocodile Numbers Renew Calls For Controlled Hunting
As crocodile numbers explode and attacks become more common, controlled hunting or tags to hunt these prehistoric predators has once again been suggested.
There have been calls to cull crocodiles to improve safety, but experts argue that this will make little difference to the risk.
However, there are also calls — for instance, from federal MP Bob Katter — to allow crocodiles to be shot for safari. They would be selling hunting licences worth thousands of dollars to shooters to provide income in the NT's struggling areas.
Nine News reported, crocodile catchers say their job is only getting busier, especially after the wet start to the year, which drove the big salties closer to human habitation.
Since crocodiles were protected in the 1970's their numbers have climbed to over 100,000. Over hunting in the 70s saw their protection as numbers had dropped to approximately 3000.
"The biggest factor of all was the removal of the king predator – homo sapiens," Kennedy MP and Katter's Australian Party head Bob Katter told nine.com.au.
"If you start interfering with nature, you better know what you're doing."
In past centuries, Mr Katter said, a clutch of crocodile eggs provided welcome sustenance to a family, which helped keep numbers down.
And along with the banning of traditional hunting and gathering which had sustained First Australians for thousands of years, he said, there was another, overriding concern.
"I don't think allowing animals to tear us apart is the act of a civilised people," he said.
"It's not just about crocodiles – it's about the sanctity of human life.
"Take that away and we're back to the jungle. That suits me, I'm a barbarian, but it's not where we want to go as a people."
Mr Katter said where human lives were in danger, acts to protect those lives should override other laws and regulations.
"If there's a croc in a creek where my kids swim and fish, sorry, we were here first," he said.
"Lake Placid used to be where kids went to swim, it was a playground for Cairns. But now, you'd only do it if you're mad."
The federal government's oversight of things crocodilian is essentially limited to the regulated export trade, though in 2014, then-Environment Minister Greg Hunt shot down a proposal to introduce safari hunting licences.
Australian safari has evolved since the ban on crocodile hunting and has taken its place among international safari organisations. Safari operations cater to visiting sportsmen by providing access to introduced species and game fish.
Whatever the decision that gets made, one can only hope and probably dream that the average Joe would one day get a chance to hunt a crocodile with our indigenous or safari operator without restriction.