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Crocodile hunts to be stepped up

AUSTRALIA'S Northern Territory may allow the collection of more crocodile eggs and limited safari hunts of the reptiles - but not large-scale slaughter - following a spate of fatal attacks on humans, its government said yesterday.

A five-year management proposal would allow up to 50,000 crocodile eggs to be collected, up from the current limit of 35,000, and expand the monitoring and trapping area outside the territory's capital of Darwin.

The program will not allow mass killings of saltwater crocodiles and is not designed to drastically reduce their numbers, territory Environment Minister Alison Anderson said. She said crocodiles were a fact of life in northern Australia and no management plan could prevent attacks.

"It is important that people who live in Darwin and its surrounds are aware of the realities of living with crocodiles and the threat they present," Anderson said. "They will kill today, they killed yesterday and they will kill tomorrow."

Many territory residents have demanded a large-scale slaughter of saltwater crocodiles following four fatal attacks outside Darwin in the last seven months.

The latest victims were 11-year-old Briony Goodsell who was swimming with her sister and friends in a lagoon last month when she was dragged under the water. Last week a 20-year-old man was taken by a crocodile when he went for a nighttime swim.


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