The NT Is Selling 1000 'Problem' Crocs
Too many crocodiles are being caught in the Northern Territory so they're being sold off to the highest bidder.
The Parks and Wildlife Commission is calling for "appropriately qualified and experienced organisations or individuals" to buy saltwater crocodiles captured in the Darwin region.
On average, 287 salties are captured by authorities each year, either by baited traps or harpooning, according to the tender which closes in October.
But in recent years that number has blown out, with 354 crocs being captured in 2017 and similar figures in 2018.
Majority of the crocs are males that range between 151 and 250 cm in length. Some are up to four metres long.
Most were captured through permanent baited traps in Darwin Harbour, which are set and checked every week as part of the territory's saltwater crocodile management program.
The program aims to "remove problem saltwater crocodiles that pose a threat to public safety in the waterways of the Darwin Region".
Senior ranger Tom Nichols told 10 daily that while the number of crocs caught under the program has skyrocketed in 2019, yearly surveys show that numbers have plateaued.
"The young ones can't get into the main systems," Nichols said.
"They can't fight their way in because of the much larger crocs so they tend to become friendlier with humans".
By friendly, he doesn't mean 'come over for a BBQ and beer' friendly, he means that appearances of crocs were becoming more common in populated areas.
There are roughly 100,000 wild saltwater crocodiles in the territory alone. This is largely thanks to the big, productive coastal wetlands and rivers in the north.
While salties are extremely dangerous, they are protected under NT, Australian and international laws, meaning they can't be shot or caught without a permit.
According to Nichols, there have been 23 saltie related fatalities in recent years.
While the government has been catching salties to minimise risks to public safety, they struggle to store them.
This is why the crocs are being sold.
Majority of the crocs will likely be turned into souvenirs or processed meat.
The croc industry in the territory is massive. It employs more than 200 staff and injects at least $50 million into the NT economy each year.