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Top End considers croc hunt -

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PETER CAVE: The Northern Territory Government is making a renewed push for crocodile safari

The Government today released a draft five-year plan for the management of saltwater crocodiles in
the Top End, which includes a proposal for a trial hunt of 25 crocodiles.

Safari advocates say controlled hunting would provide economic opportunities for Aboriginal
communities, while environmentalists argue the idea is repugnant.

As Sarah Hawke reports, the Government has ruled out the widespread culling of crocodiles in the
Darwin region

SARAH HAWKE: In releasing the strategy on crocodile management for the next five years, the
Northern Territory's Environment Minister Alison Anderson gave a clear message: whatever approach
is taken, the danger is always lurking.

ALISON ANDERSON: They kill yesterday, they will kill today and they will kill tomorrow.

SARAH HAWKE: The draft plan comes on the back of two deaths in crocodile attacks in the past month.

Eleven-year-old Brinoy Goodsell's death outside Darwin in March prompted calls for an extensive
crocodile cull in the Darwin region, which has one of the fastest human population growths rates in

Alison Anderson is proposing a management zone of a 50 kilometres radius of Darwin.

This will see more rangers, more traps but not widespread shooting.

ALISON ANDERSON: Well the 50 kilometre management zone that we have is really just for monitoring
and setting extra traps and making sure that we take nuisance crocodiles out of contact with humans
and it's not at all a zone where we cull crocodiles and it's not a zone where we should stand here
and say to people that it's safe now to swim.

SARAH HAWKE: While you're not expecting wide scale shooting of crocodiles, you'd expect to remove
some more from the rural area though?

ALISON ANDERSON: Oh look, parks have always said you know, nuisance crocodiles will be removed and
we're not culling. This is not a culling process. All we have to do is realise that how do we live
in this beautiful place with this predator? And this is all about monitoring setting more traps and
making sure that humans in that area are protected so that crocodiles are not walking inside their
backyard or walking down the street of one of our suburbs.

SARAH HAWKE: The budget is still being worked out, as is the cost of an awareness program that
could range from warnings on beer coasters to extensive television advertisements.

But the Territory needs Commonwealth approval for one of the more controversial aspects of the
plan; a trial for safari hunting that may pave the way for 25 crocodiles to be hunted a year.

The hunters would be able to keep the crocodiles as trophies.

ALISON ANDERSON: The things that we have to have a look at with the safari hunting is, is it
viable? How is it going to benefit Indigenous people or you know, for economic development?

So those are the things that we'll have a look at and through the six weeks consultation process,
they too will have an input into the safari management plan.

SARAH HAWKE: But past federal governments have blocked previous Territory pushes for safari

Environmentalists believe this has to continue and the Commonwealth must take the same approach
with crocodile hunting as it does with whaling.

Nicola Beynon is from Humane Society International.

NICOLA BEYNON: There are no guarantees that animal welfare will be taken care of adequately, that
the hunters will be skilled, that they will able to get clean shots and it will be very difficult
for the Northern Territory to police that and Australians do not accept animal cruelty, nor do they
like hunting animals purely for the fun of it.

SARAH HAWKE: Michaela Johnston is a director of Gupulul Marayuwu Aboriginal Corporation that's
behind a proposal to hunt crocodiles in Arnhem Land.

She says there's already some culling and safari hunting would ensure animals are not wasted.

Michaela Johnston says they'd ensure animal welfare is not a problem.

MICHAELA JOHNSTON: I mean these are overseas professional hunters. You know, it's not just a case
of putting out there, 'we've got a large crocodile 15-16 ft we need a hunter', you can't do that.

These people have got to be professionals, they've got to be competent shots and we have two
marksmen that also back up our team to be there to make sure that shots taken if there's any
problems you know.

And I think the green groups really have to get a grip of themselves because there needs to be a
balance there.

PETER CAVE: That was crocodile hunting proponent Michaela Johnston speaking to Sarah Hawke.