The Queensland government has decided against allowing safari crocodile hunting, a practice that costs upwards of $15,000 and rewards the shooter with a reptilian trophy.
The Federal Environment Department has approved a safari trial in the Northern Territory, where hunters may shoot up to 50 of the great salties measuring longer than 3.5 metres in an effort to, as hunters say, “help with their conservation.”
The aim of safari hunting in the NT is to provide a much-needed tourism boost in the region and provide jobs for indigenous Australians. According to ABC News, more than 70 per cent of crocodile habitat is on Aboriginal-held lands.
“Come to the Territory and bag a croc," said Chief Minister Paul Henderson to ABC. "If that is what people want to do and they are prepared to pay for it, I am all for it."
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However, scientists and campaigners fear that the practice will negatively impact the natural hierarchy of the crocodiles, as the alpha males keep the others in check. This disruption could, in turn, threaten the safety of humans near these rivers.
“We know that the largest, most dominant crocodiles tend to be the ones that control an area and if you take those big animals out, what tends to happen is you get a bit of chaos that happens over the next few months as the smaller animals that had previously been excluded from those areas will move in an try and establish control, try and establish dominance,” said Adam Britton, a Northern Territory crocodile scientist told Sara Everingham on the ABC AM radio broadcast program on Saturday.
Regardless of the tourism perks, Queensland’s Environment Minister Andrew Powell announced that the ‘Sunshine State’ will not support safari hunting.
"This is not appropriate to canvass the idea of these hunting practices being introduced in Queensland and it is not a priority of myself or the Government," he told News.com.au.
The hunting trend may be heading south: New South Wales is considering implementing a plan that would allow hunters to shoot feral animals in national parks.