In an effort to make beaches safer, Australia considers offering crocodile hunting.
It’s late May on a beach in northern Australia. Two women leave for an evening stroll along the water. Only one returns. The other? A midnight snack for one of the area’s overpopulated saltwater crocodiles. Described by National Geographic as the largest living crocodilian on earth, the saltwater crocodile, like the one responsible for the attack, can reach up to 23 feet in length and weigh well over 2,000 pounds.
As reported by Quartz, the growing population is causing a great deal of concern for beach goers and visitors of National Parks in the area.
The number of salt water crocodiles in Australia’s Northern Territory back in the 1960s was around 3,000. Today, that figure is closer to 100,000. After a rapid decline due to over-hunting, in the early 1970s the reptile was placed under full protection by the Australian government. Fast forward to today and the population has again approached a level where it needs to be managed.
Introduced in 2012 as a possible way to address the growing population, and positively impact the economy of local indigenous residents, authorities considered the idea of offering high-end hunting safaris. The proposal suggested that jobs would be created, additional dollars would be brought in to the economy, and the population would slowly be reduced to a stable and safe level.
As many would expect, the notion of hosting high end hunting safaris as the solution has caused a great deal of controversy. Bob Irwin, father of the famous Aussie Steve Irwin, suggested that his son would be rolling over in his grave at the idea. Some locals like the idea, while others disagree. Bob Katter, who represents the area where the attack took place, recently tweeted his support for the concept.
At the same time, another local politician, Warren Entsch, argues that employing a little common sense would’ve prevented the tragedy, although common sense alone is unlikely to make the waters safer or reduce the growing population.
Entsch told the Sydney Morning Herald in an interview on the topic that, “You can’t legislate against human stupidity.” He went on to say that, “There are warning signs everywhere. If you go swimming at 10 o’clock at night, you’re going to get consumed.”
Sounds like the perfect place for a family vacation. If your family is into crocodile hunting, that is.