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Crocodile hunting safaris ruled out for Queensland




by: Brian Williams From: The Courier-Mail June 18, 2012 12:00AM

NO SAFARI: Queensland will not allow the hunting of big male saltwater crocodiles for trophies.

Picture: Kerry Trapnell Source: The Courier-Mail

SAFARI croc hunting will not occur in Queensland, despite the idea being trialled in the Northern Territory.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell yesterday ruled out a similar hunting program, in which the well-heeled will pay about $15,000 to kill a single big bull crocodile and then about $20,000 for taxidermy.

Crocodile campaigner Bob Irwin said Mr Powell had taken the right decision and that shooting 50 alpha males would probably make rivers more dangerous rather than safer for humans.

"If the shooters knew anything about how nature works, they'd know the really big boys keep everything in check," he said. "You shoot out the big males and the teenagers will start running around testing their skills.

"If you get young ones running riot, it's going to introduce a little more risk to everything as far as humans are concerned."

The Federal Environment Department has approved a safari trial in the NT, which wants a similar scheme to that in which buffalo hunts are allowed on Aboriginal lands.

A maximum of 50 crocodiles greater than 3.5m in length will be shot. Hunters argue that by placing a high value on crocodiles, shooting will help in their conservation.

Federal MP Bob Katter also has called for hunting.

NSW also is considering a plan to allow hunters into national parks to shoot feral animals.

"We do not and will not support safari or trophy hunting," Mr Powell said. "This is not appropriate to canvass the idea of these hunting practices being introduced in Queensland and it is not a priority of myself or the Government."

Mr Irwin said he would fight trophy croc shooting as much as he could.

He said shooting native wildlife did not conserve anything and it would damage Australia's clean and green tourism image.

For the handful of people it might attract, potentially thousands would be turned off.

Mr Irwin said he also feared that organised trophy hunting would encourage hoon shooters to try their luck on any croc they encountered.

Humane Society International spokeswoman Alexia Wellbelove called on Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to reject the NT proposal.

"Hunting native animals for pleasure and to bag a trophy is a practice that sickens most people," she said.

"Animal welfare rates highly as a matter of public concern."
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