Sa­faris yet to be snapped up by Aus­tralia

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Aus­tralia’s top of­fi­cial on in­dige­nous is­sues on Tues­day said crocodile sa­faris should be used to help fund im­pov­er­ished Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties, but the prospect of big game hun­ters was down­played by Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott.

Tro­phy hunts were knocked back by the gov­ern­ment in early 2014, with En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Greg Hunt say­ing they were in­ap­pro­pri­ate and risked “cruel and in­hu­mane” be­hav­ior.

But In­dige­nous Af­fairs Min­is­ter Nigel Scul­lion said Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple should be al­lowed to sell per­mits to shoot a small num­ber of the hun­dreds of salt­wa­ter crocodiles that would oth­er­wise be culled each year.

“This is about science, there’s no dif­fer­ence from crocodiles and flat­head (fish), ob­vi­ously apart from size and teeth,” Scul­lion told the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion.

“Why would you not have sa­fari hunt­ing as a part of an ex­ist­ing man­age­ment regime?”

Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott backed away from any im­me­di­ate change to pol­icy, de­spite the min­is­ter’s com­ments.

“All I am go­ing to in­di­cate is that as far as the Com­mon­wealth gov­ern­ment is con­cerned, there are no plans to change any rel­e­vant law in this area,” he told re­porters in Can­berra.

Salt­wa­ter crocodiles have be­come in­creas­ingly com­mon in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory since they were de­clared a pro­tected species in 1971, and each year more than 500 are culled to pro­tect the public and live­stock.

Scul­lion said there would be healthy in­ter­na­tional de­mand for crocodile sa­faris, with big game hun­ters likely pre­pared to pay as much as AU$30,000 (US$23,175) to bag one an­i­mal.

“I just think it’s time to en­sure that our first Aus­tralians can get a bite of the eco­nomic bullet,” he said.

Bess Price, who is the North­ern Ter­ri­tory’s Min­is­ter for Parks and Wildlife, also backed mak­ing crocodile hunt­ing le­gal, say­ing it could pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

“It’s a great op­por­tu­nity be­cause it brings about eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­dige­nous peo­ple,” she told the ABC.

The Ter­ri­tory’s Min­is­ter for Pri- mary In­dus­try and Fish­eries Willem Wes­tra van Holthe also jumped on the pro­posal, which he told the na­tional broad­caster would give Aus­tralia’s “Top End” tourism a boost.

Con­ser­va­tion­ists have long op­posed any plans to hunt salt­wa­ter crocodiles, which can grow up to seven me­ters (23 feet) long and weigh more than a tonne.

The Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional Aus­tralia has pre­vi­ously said crocodile tro­phy hunt­ing would be out of step with the views of Aus­tralians.

HSI di­rec­tor Michael Kennedy said in March that ap­prov­ing crocodile sa­faris would go against the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment’s re­cent ban on the im­por­ta­tion of lion tro­phies.

“Tro­phy hunt­ing is a relic of the past,” he said at the time.

Salt­wa­ter crocodiles kill an av­er­age of two peo­ple each year in Aus­tralia.

In April, a golfer was bit­ten by a crocodile, but sur­vived, as he re­trieved a ball from a wa­ter trap in north­ern Queens­land. Since then two men have gone miss­ing while fish­ing or boating in north­ern Aus­tralia and are thought to have been taken by crocs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.