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17 April 2009 - Crocodile safari plan - unnecessary and inhumane      


Sydney, 17 April 2009

Allowing crocodiles or any Australian native wildlife to be hunted for trophies and commercial gain is unacceptable and will damage Australia’s eco-friendly reputation, according to Humane Society International (HSI), IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and the RSPCA.

Three of the world’s largest animal protection organisations are opposed to the introduction of safari style crocodile hunting as proposed in the Northern Territory’s Draft Management Plan for the Saltwater Crocodile. 

“To resume the practice of crocodile hunting for sport and entertainment would be a major step backwards for Australia and would raise serious conservation and animal welfare concerns and put our international reputation in these areas at risk. The Federal Government’s policy against the hunting of native wildlife for trophies must remain,” said Nicola Beynon, HSI Senior Programs Manager.

Hunting native animals for pleasure and to bag a trophy is a practice that sickens most people.  Human attitudes to wildlife in Australia have advanced far beyond those associated with trophy hunting, and animal welfare rates highly as a matter of public concern.

“Crocodile trophy hunting appears to rear its ugly head every three years.  Successive Federal Environment Ministers have rightly reflected Australian public opinion by repeatedly rejecting it,” Erica Martin, IFAW Asia Pacific Director, said.

“The plan’s attempts to address welfare concerns are impractical, unenforceable and will not prevent cruelty from occurring.

“How will inexperienced shooters be prevented from taking a shot at a crocodile as long as they have the dollars to pay for it?” Ms Martin said.

The RSPCA said reprised calls for safari hunting were a farce because the plan has nothing to do with managing the crocodile population.

“This proposal is only for 25 crocodiles per year and is not even intended to address crocodile numbers. It is merely another attempt to sneak safari hunting into the Territory’s broader crocodile management plan. It’s nothing more than killing animals for entertainment and there is no justification for that,” said the RSPCA’s Chief Scientist, Dr Bidda Jones.

The trophy hunting of crocodiles is being supported by hunting groups who want to bring in tourists who are prepared to pay thousands of dollars to ‘bag a crocodile’. Rather than cater to this small (but loud) lobby group, we ask that the Northern Territory Government focus on promoting eco-tourism opportunities for the majority of tourists who travel to Australia for a wildlife experience and who enjoy seeing crocodiles in their natural habitat.

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