Sunday, 26 March 2017

Katter’s Australian party push to legalise crocodile hunting after Queensland attacks

Party to draft laws allowing a controlled cull of protected reptiles, including Indigenous-run safari hunts, after two suspected attacks in state’s far north

Joshua Robertson

Monday 20 March 2017 08.00 GMT Last modified on Monday 20 March 2017 08.49 GMT

Two suspected crocodile attacks in the same north Queensland area within a day have prompted a bid by Katter’s Australian party to legalise hunting of the protected predators.

Wildlife officers and police believe Warren Hughes, 35, may have been killed by a 4m-plus crocodile that later “charged” a police boat searching for the Cairns man’s body on Sunday night.

The body of Hughes, who went missing on Saturday while spearfishing alone 200m off Palmer Point, was recovered on Monday with injuries “consistent with a crocodile attack”, police said.

It followed the mauling of a teenager who tried to swim the Johnstone River in Innisfail on a “dare” before dawn on Sunday, as well as several attacks on dogs around Cairns at the weekend.

Matt Brien, the manager of northern wildlife operations at the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, said wildlife officers would set out on Monday night to try to remove the crocodile suspected of attacking Hughes, with “lethal force” an option.

“The animal charged the [police] boat and behaved quite aggressively and it seemed to have something in its mouth, although it couldn’t be confirmed,” Brien said.

“But based on the behaviour of this animal and the location, and also in recovery of the body, it appears that this animal may be responsible for the death of this man.”

Shane Knuth, one of two Katter’s Australian party crossbench MPs in Queensland’s hung parliament, said the party would draft laws allowing a controlled cull of the reptiles, including bounties and Indigenous-run safari hunts.

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