It seems that the crocodile attack on a 67-year-old man in the NT’s Litchfield National Park may prove to be a tipping point in the ongoing debate over culling,
Following the incident at Wangi Falls on Monday, which left a man in hospital with injuries to his arm and back, the Territory’s Chief Minister, Natasha Fyles, has said a conversation ‘needs to be had’ over the issue.
The two-metre-long saltwater crocodile involved in the incident has since been shot by park rangers.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Ms Fyles said the NT’s crocodile population had grown from around 3,000 to 100,000 since culling ceased in the 1970s.
She said she would now be formally writing to the Commonwealth about the whole culling issue.
The NT News reports that Ms Fyles said programs were in place around management through egg collection, and there were rangers that undertook patrols.
“But I think it’s time for us to consider, ‘do we need to go back to culling’?” she said. “It’s extremely scary and it does have an impact … we’ve got crocodiles looking for different areas and so they’re pushing further into spaces where they perhaps haven’t been before.”
Ms Fyles said the rise in crocodile numbers was affecting traditional owners, locals, and tourists.
It is understood there were around 80 people in the water at Wangi Falls when the crocodile attack took place on Monday.
Director of Northern Australian Parks for the NT’s Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security, Dean McAdams, said Wangi Falls would remain closed for at least three more days to allow rangers to monitor the area for crocodiles.
“At the end of three nights, if there’s no more sightings then we can reopen,” Mr McAdams told ABC Radio yesterday morning.
He said rangers had not yet figured out how the crocodile made it into the pool.
Last week, another popular waterhole at Bitter Springes near Mataranka was closed after a saltwater crocodile was seen in the water.
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