PETA has caused fury in Australia by offering a $6,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of people suspected of killing crocodiles.
The animal rights group made the offer after four crocodiles were found shot dead in the country. But some estimates suggest one person is torn to pieces by crocs every three months in Australia’s remote northern Queensland. And there have been increasing sightings of the animals near tourist hotspots in the area.
State MP Robbie Katter said PETA was jeopardising human safety by putting croc welfare before people. He said: “I am serious about calling these people out and putting it right back in their face. They need to be held accountable for the danger they are subjecting people to by forcing their ideologies over people’s lives. These groups are using their large financial resources to influence the arm of justice and are denying the people of the north the ability to keep their families safe when the government refuses to help them.”
“I am venting the frustration that is boiling over with people that simply want safer access to their waterways, as they used to,” he continued. “People are taking the law into their own hands because they feel they have no other choice. Stop gap approaches by the State Government, such as ‘educating people to live with crocs’ and commissioning three-year studies, are not providing the safety people in North Queensland are seeking. Not only are these animals threatening people’s lives but also financial livelihoods. The tourism meccas of Cairns, Port Douglas, Palm Cove and Mission Beach all are under threat from the increased level of beach closures and high increases in croc sightings.”
Four crocodiles, all four to five meters long, have been found dead in Northern Queensland since April. In September, a crocodile measuring more than five metres was found in the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton, with a bullet in its head. The head of another crocodile was found on Cairns Esplanade last month, wearing a pair of sunglasses and resting next to a can of beer.
On December 5, a fisherman found the bloated corpse of a 13-foot saltwater crocodile floating in the Mulgrave River–also with a single gunshot to the head.
A spokeswoman for PETA said the shootings were very concerning, and news of the second one in three months had urged them to up their bounty. She said those who were comfortable killing a crocodile “often don’t stop there … PETA is upping its reward to $6,000 for information leading to the identification and conviction of the person or persons responsible for these vicious attacks.”
“People who harm animals often don’t stop there and are a danger to the community at large,” she said. “That’s why it’s imperative for anyone with information to contact the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection or Crime Stoppers.”