Keep the Ban on Crocodile Hunting in the Northern Territory

In a recent edition of the Northern Territory News it was revealed that the Northern Territory government is to allow the \"safari style hunting\" of up to 25 Estuarine Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) by wealthy Australian hunters. http://www.ntnews.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,7034,19925627%255E13569,00.html . This new scenario has been raised because the Federal Government effectively blocked a previous proposal for the hunting of crocodiles by overseas hunters, by banning the export of any \"trophies\" such as the head or skin. The logic being that wealthy overseas hunters are unlikely to pay large sums of money to hunt a crocodile, if they have no \"trophy\" to hang in their home. Further examination of the article reveals that there are interested parties in the Northern Territory wishing to use this new proposal as a trial to convince the Federal Government to overturn its ban. It is our view, that the re-introduction of commercial hunting in any form is the thin end of the wedge. We understand that some crocodiles each year are \"culled\" by the appropriate authorities, and it is these animals that the so called safari hunters are supposedly interested in. However it is, in our view, unlikely that hunters will be willing to pay large sums of money to shoot relatively small animals that may be of nuisance value to some in Darwin Harbour, and is most likely that large, dominant males will be targeted in areas where they may not be posing a hazard to anybody. This targeting of large males is likely to cause destabilisation within local crocodile populations and may introduce a higher risk to humans as smaller animals compete for the vacant territory. It may also lead to unscrupulous persons attempting to have any large crocodile seen, declared a

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Mark Richmond is a professional herpetologist with a particular interest in crocodilians and monitor lizards. He can be heard on the internationally syndicated radio show \"Pet Talk Radio\" (www.pettalkradio.com). His company Crocodile Encounters, provides educational talks on reptiles and their conservation throughout Australia.

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