Leading expert calls for crocodiles to be made extinct in Australian Outback harbor

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-09 12:58:12|Editor: Lu Hui
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CANBERRA, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- A leading saltwater crocodile expert has called for new practises to be legalized for their eradication in the Northern Territory (NT), including shooting them.

Grahame Webb, an expert at Darwin's Crocodylus Park who has been researching reptiles since the 1960s, on Wednesday called for an overhaul of the NT's crocodile management strategy.

Rangers removed 307 crocodiles from Darwin Harbor in 2018 to protect the public from attack after 344 were removed in 2017.

Webb said that it was important that crocodile management did not "become an institutionalised program", saying that shooting the reptiles would be more effective than trapping them.

"It sounds strange to people but the object of this issue is to make crocodiles extinct in Darwin Harbor for public safety reasons, and we've been unable to do it," he told News Corp Australia on Wednesday.

"Is trapping really the most efficient way of keeping people safe? It's not about an animal welfare problem at all.

"We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the goal is a public safety goal not an exercise in catching crocodiles."

The hunting of crocodiles was outlawed in 1971.

A report by the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, Menzies School of Health and Research and Royal Darwin Hospital in June 2017 revealed that 14 people were killed by crocodiles in the NT between 2005 and 2014 compared to 10 deaths between 1971 and 2004.

Webb said he was opposed to widespread culling of crocodiles but said that the small percentage that posed a threat to the NT population must be dealt with.

"The worst thing that happens when there is an attack are kneejerk political reactions," he said.

"These are serious animals they bring great benefits to the Northern Territory but we've got an obligation to make sure people understand it and know what's going on."