The Northern Territory Government has released its Draft Management Program for the Saltwater Crocodile for public comment and approval from the Federal Environment Minister. Included in this management plan is the introduction of a crocodile safari hunting program. Their proposal suggests an initial quota of 25 animals as part of the broader 500 animal quota for wild harvesting of adult crocodiles. This is not intended as a means of controlling nuisance crocodiles, but a means by which to attract money from tourists wishing to obtain trophies from their hunting expeditions.
HSI believes that allowing crocodiles or any Australian native wildlife to be hunted for trophies is unacceptable and will damage Australia's eco-friendly reputation. This proposal is raised every 3 years and each time successive Federal Environment Ministers have rightly rejected it, reflecting the public opinion of Australians who are opposed to trophy hunting of our native animals. Help us ensure Environment Minister Peter Garrett maintains this policy.
A return to trophy hunting would be a return to the outdated attitudes to wildlife from the last century. In addition to conservation concerns there are also considerable animal welfare concerns. The proposed means by which to address welfare concerns are impractical and unenforceable ' and will be increasingly so when numbers hunted increase as is the intention for future. It is therefore inevitable that considerable cruelty will occur, which is no basis for a modern commercial enterprise.
Claims have been made that the safari hunts will provide Indigenous landholders with significant benefits in the forms of hunting fees and accommodation expenses. Instead the NT Government should focus on promoting eco-tourism to these same areas. This is a rapidly expanding industry which would provide equal if not more sustainable revenue for Indigenous landholders and provide an economic incentive to protect not only crocodiles but the broader habitat in which they live, thus maintaining Australia's reputation as an eco-tourism destination of choice.
HSI is opposing the safari hunting of saltwater crocodiles in the Northern Territory as part of our wider objections to the management program for the saltwater crocodile which continues the take of eggs and adults from the wild for the meat and skin trade, and proposes lethal control of crocodiles in a 50 kilometre exclusion zone around Darwin.
ACT by 29th May 2009
Contact the Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, and ask that he reject the NT Government proposal to allow the safari hunting of saltwater crocodiles on the basis of that it is an outdated practice which does not reflect wider Australian public opinion which is opposed to trophy hunting and animal cruelty. Note that the sanctioning of this safari hunt is not only inherently cruel and inhumane and disrespectful of modern wildlife conservation principles but also risks the reputation of Australia as an eco-tourism destination of choice.
And send a copy of your letter to:
Wildlife Trade Assessments
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Please send us copies of any responses you receive.