Stop Queensland's Crocodile Cull
Stop Queensland's Crocodile Cull
Why this petition matters
Queensland is considering the continuous culling of saltwater crocodiles along Australia's east coast. This action is justified by the claim that reducing crocodile numbers will improve human safety, however it has been well established that culls are not an effective management strategy to reduce the risk of crocodile attack. Sign this petition to take a stand against the proposed cull and protect Australia's native wildlife!
An independent evaluation of Queensland's current Crocodile Management Plan was released in July 2022. This evaluation proposed 22 recommendations to improve upon the management plan's ability to achieve its two primary objectives: to promote the conservation of saltwater crocodiles, and to reduce risk of crocodile attacks.
Of these recommendations, one is particular cause for concern: Recommendation 6 proposes the continuous cull of an undefined number of sub-adult and mature saltwater crocodiles along the east coast. This recommendation has been marked as high priority, and Queensland's Department of Environment and Science has already expressed its endorsement of this proposed cull.
The support for Recommendation 6 is alarming given that this proposed management strategy is in direct conflict with the key objectives of Queensland's current Crocodile Management Plan; both the conservation of saltwater crocodile populations and the safety of Queensland's citizens and tourists will be at increased risk should this recommendation be implemented.
CROC NUMBERS ≠ RISK
Reducing the size of the crocodile population does not result in a reduced risk of crocodile attack; it only takes one crocodile for an attack to occur. The possibility of human-crocodile conflict is instead dependant on crocodile presence. Queensland has already established a number of crocodile-exclusion zones to allow people to swim in natural waterbodies with minimised risk from crocodiles.
By proposing that reducing crocodile numbers will improve human safety, Recommendation 6 incorrectly conflates reduced crocodile populations with reduced risk. This can generate a false sense of security among the public, who are then led to believe that since some crocodiles have been removed, the area is now safer. With a reduced sense of danger, people are likely to become complacent and display increasingly risky behaviours that put them at greater risk of crocodile attack. Many crocodiles will remain in the targeted areas and therefore continue to present a very serious risk to human safety.
In this way, the proposed reduction of the crocodile population along Australia's east coast actually increases the risk to human safety by promoting complacency within crocodile country.
HUMAN BEHAVIOUR DETERMINES RISK
Crocodiles are a recognised threat to human safety, but attacks are avoidable when people take responsibility for their own behaviours and understand how to operate safely in crocodile country. By learning to avoid risky scenarios and behave in a safe manner around crocodiles, the public can reduce the risk to their own safety. It is for this reason that it is important to focus on education about crocodiles and the risks they present.
The recommendation of a crocodile cull- and the resulting sense of complacency such a proposition encourages- removes the responsibility of personal safety from the individual. Instead, personal safety then depends on the actions and behaviours of crocodiles, which can be unpredictable, highly dangerous, and obviously not in people's best interest. This greatly reduces the ability to manage the risk of crocodile attacks and puts the public in danger.
Education should remain the key focus of crocodile management strategies to ensure the public are keenly aware of the risks crocodiles present and how to avoid these. It is important that this responsibility remains that of the individual, as we know we can't trust crocodiles to choose to not attack people.
THREATENS ENVIORNMENTAL HEALTH
Saltwater crocodiles are a protected species in Queensland and are listed as Vulnerable. As apex predators, they play a key role in regulating the state's natural ecosystems- which are of great benefit to the tourism industry, among many other key industries of the state. Crocodile populations are in a state of recovery following intensive exploitation, which only ceased 50 years ago. Populations are just now stabilising in Queensland, with numbers and distributional ranges only slightly increasing in recent years.
Introducing a cull of sub-adult and mature individuals will disrupt this recovery process and violate the population mechanics of this species. This includes negatively impacting the self-regulatory predation pressures that mature and established crocodiles enforce on younger individuals. This provides a natural limitation to the numbers of crocodiles that can persist in any given area and generates a stable and healthy population demographic for the species. Interrupting these processes violates the Crocodile Management Plan's objective to promote the long-term conservation of the species as it prevents populations from reaching and maintaining a natural stable state. Additionally, Queensland's 'trap-shy' policy prevents non-target crocodiles from being released should they accidentally be captured, meaning that crocodiles of any size can be removed.
From an ethical standpoint, it has been confirmed that a majority- if not, the entirety- of the crocodiles targeted for removal will be culled through lethal means. Crocodile farms and zoos are noted to lack the capacity to accept many more crocodiles, and so crocodiles will instead be killed.
Please sign in favour of calling the Queensland Department of Environment and Science to reject Recommendation 6, and take a stance to oppose the unfounded cull of Australia's native wildlife. The people and crocodiles of Queensland both deserve to live safely and coexist in peace- to the benefit of both species.