Offbeat: Australia: controversy around the fight against crocodile attacks in Queensland

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In Australia, the government of Queensland, northeast of the country, wishes to better protect the population against crocodile attacks, and intends to adopt a system of systematic slaughter of the largest of them, those measuring more 2.40 meters. A proposal that arouses controversy.

With our correspondent in Sydney, Grégory Pless

to reduce crocodile attacks, you just have to shoot down the biggest, and therefore the most dangerous. This is the logic, a priori unstoppable, recently adopted by the Queensland government.

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Except that in reality, the opposite is likely to occur, according to several experts at the origin of an petition opposing this system of systematic slaughter . More than 10,000 people have already signed the text.

Towards a war of succession between crocodiles?

They argue that such a strategy could create a false feeling of security within the population and push them to adopt dangerous behavior in areas where many crocodiles live. They also note that affecting the biggest crocodiles, that amounts to suppressing the dominant males, and therefore to trigger a war of succession between younger crocodiles and to exacerbate their aggressiveness.

Finally, if the risks of attacks are very real, they do not increase. There are between 20,000 and 30,000 crocodiles in Queensland, a figure that has remained stable since the introduction, in the 1970s, of protection measures. Less than 1% of eggs will eventually become adults to reproduce, so there is naturally a huge skimming. Before becoming machines to kill without predator, these animals are extremely vulnerable, in the egg state of course (in Australia, humans reasonedly take eggs in nests in the great outdoors), but also during the first Year of their lives, where they are about as large as lizards and constitute the menu of birds, big fish, but also crocodiles.

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As for the last deadly attack, it dates back to 2017, according to the Australian statistics office.

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group it is for the same reason that it is estimated that the breeding of crocodiles has no impact on the population: In Australia, eggs are taken (in a reasoned manner) in nests in the great outdoors, because in any case, 99% of them will die before reaching the age of reproducing (and also because adult crocos , it eats tens of kilos of fresh meat per day, which is very expensive).

Finally, the greatest Crocodilian experts defend their exploitation as a necessary evil, because they consider that in drawing an economic advantage, it is the only way to make local populations accept the fact of living near animals that can Kill them, and hold them down just cut them with gunshots in the event of an attack.

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