Australia Rejects Crocodile Safari Hunt Plan
CANBERRA Australia has rejected a plan to allow crocodile safari hunting in the country's north where the reptiles killed two men in separate attacks last week.
The Northern Territory government has issued permits for the past five years to allow for the annual wild harvest of up to 600 crocodiles, but it also wanted to be able to allow safari hunters to kill 25 saltwater crocodiles a year.
The federal government needed to approve the plan, but the proposal was rejected by Environment Minister Ian Campbell on grounds it was inconsistent with a modern day approach to animal welfare and responsible management.
"Australia is regarded worldwide as a place with unique wildlife and with an incredible environment," Campbell told Australian television on Thursday.
"I think it's an incredibly bad message to send out to the rest of the world that we're going in to shoot up our wildlife and particularly our ancient, prehistoric wildlife such as crocodiles."
Crocodiles were declared a protected species in 1971 when their numbers fell to about 5,000, but since then their population in the Northern Territory has exploded to around 70,000 in the wild with another 18,000 in six crocodiles farms.
About 15 people have been killed by crocodiles in Australia in the past 20 years, including a 56-year-old Australian man, who was taken while scuba-diving last Thursday, and a 37-year-old British man, who was killed while snorkelling on Sept. 24.
In August, a 60-year-old man was dragged out of a canoe and killed by a crocodile in northeastern Queensland state, while a 10-year-old girl survived a crocodile attack in Western Australia state at the weekend.