Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Saltie Is Back!

The northeast coast of Australia is facing an explosion in its population of saltwater crocodiles, which are protected by law but are becoming a menace to swimmers, surfers and the inhabitants of some towns’ outer suburbs.

An endangered species in the 1960s, by 1974 the Saltwater Crocodile was finally protected by authorities. Today, a combination of a successful hunting ban and a decline in the number of dingoes (which eat their eggs), has seen their numbers return to levels not seen since the the time of the settlers in 1788.

However, the problem is now so serious that there are calls for the country’s strict gun laws to be relaxed and hunters to be given open season on crocodiles.

Bob Katter, an independent MP, said that crocodile numbers had reached“plague proportions” and the huge reptiles were moving into places where they had never been seen before.

Locals have reported man-eating crocodiles basking near popular swimming spots and boat ramps. In Cairns and Townsville they have even been seen sunning themselves on surf beaches.

"There are some 50,000 people living on river banks and shoreline between Townsville and Cairns. If you’re going into these areas you really need to take some sort of firearm to protect yourselves,” Katter said.

Crocodiles have killed about a dozen people in Queensland in the past 10 years, half of them tourists from other countries.

via Australian Politics

Kids, don't try this at home,