Lonely Planet Writer

Call for crocodile safaris in Australia's Northern Territory sparks debate

Calls for crocodile-hunting safaris have resurfaced in Australia’s Northern Territory in recent weeks and have been met with mixed reactions.

Crocodiles cornered a female handler before attacking her at a wildlife sanctuary in Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Crocodile. Image by William Warby / CC BY 2.0

Bob Katter, the Federal MP for the area of Kennedy has said that he believes that attacks are at a record high due to an increase in  crocodile numbers in recent years, and is calling for crocodile safaris.

Speaking to ABC News, Katter said it was time for a culling of crocodiles in order to protect people from attack.

Crocodiles spotted in Crete. Image by Brandon Trentler / CC BY 2.0
. Image by Brandon Trentler / CC BY 2.0 Image by Brandon Trentler / CC BY 2.0

“There is no balance now. All of the crocodile predators have been removed so the numbers have exploded. A crocodile mother, she has 50 to 80 eggs she lays every year or so.”

The debate has come back into the limelight after a high-profile attack in Daintree saw a 46 -year-old woman killed.

Florida homeowner finds uninvited guest in his pool.
. Image by DeusXFlorida / CC BY 2.0

However, the call for a cull has been met with outrage by many, who see the crocodile as a protected species and the possibility of a culling as incredibly dangerous to the safe-guarding of their protected status.

The Queensland Environmental Department has simply issued a statement saying that its estuarine crocodiles are a protected species and it’s illegal to hunt them. In 1974 they were almost extinct, and it has been a long process to bring back this formidable predator.

The statement also said that studies did not suggest an increase in crocodile populations.