The Real Skinny On Saltwater Crocodiles


Published: November - 2005

So, what is the unvarnished truth about saltwater crocodile hunts in Australia? Rumors are flying that it's legal, or quasi-legal (wink, wink) to hunt these large reptiles in Australia. Well, nothing could be farther from the truth. The Federal Government of Australia has just made a decision against sporthunting that appears to shut the door on safari hunting for the foreseeable future.

There has been some confusion of late in the international hunting community regarding the hunting of this species. Some hunters have been told they may sporthunt crocodiles with landowners or outfitters who have been given special permits. Don't be fooled. This is absolutely not the case. Here's why.

State governments in Australia have the authority to regulate crocodile management internally, but only the federal government can permit safari hunting and allow the export of trophy animals harvested. This makes for a sticky situation in areas such as the Northern Territory, where crocodile populations are very high and conflicts with people are on the rise. The incidence of rogue crocodiles here was highlighted by three attacks on humans just this past September. Two men were killed while snorkeling, and a young girl had her arm grabbed as she trailed it over a boat's gunwale. Only vigilant family members saved her from being pulled into the water.

Incredibly, the state government of the Northern Territory allocates permits for up to 600 rogue crocodiles each year to be relocated or killed by landowners. The problem for overseas hunters is that only the owner of the permit (the affected landowner) can legally kill the permitted animal. Recognizing the ridiculousness of the situation, the state government of the Northern Territory pressured the Australian federal government to allow 25 of the 600 crocs to be shot as trophies by safari hunting clients. A large percentage of the revenue gained from each hunt would have gone to the traditional aborigine owners of the land on which the crocodiles live. It made good economic sense.

Grahame Webb, the Director of Wildlife Management at Charles Darwin........(continued)

 
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