Crocodile Hunting in Australia

If you had the training, equipment, and mental fortitude to be really prepared for the challenge, would you risk potentially getting killed by a wild creature almost 65 million years old? Maybe you would for fame, money, or glory, but what if you had none of that to look forward too and absolutely zero preparation? What if you only had a camera, and the help of a few others who knew what they were doing.

If that thought terrifies you, you’ll definitely be astounded to hear the tale of Trevor Foster. Foster is a nature photographer who’s spent the better part of three years photographing the previous endangered species of saltwater crocodile native to Northern Australia, particularly focusing on the trend of crocodile hunting endorsed by the Australian government.

In the Northern Territory of Australia, crocodile numbers have boomed immensely, so much so that the government now allows a limited amount of them to be hunted each year. Monetary compensation is also provided for crocodile hunters, and crocodile skins and skulls can fetch several thousands of dollars. Foster has spent several years documenting this method of conservation, a method that can at times be pretty emotional for a non hunter like himself. While the hunting is necessary for safety and population control, Foster often laments the hard struggle that many crocs have to make in an effort to stay alive during their final moments.

So how well does ‘conservation hunting work’? Historically speaking, it isn’t a perfect method. In fact it has fundamentally failed in a vast number of situations where it has been used. A common criticism launched against the movement of ‘conservation hunting’ is that it can lead to animal numbers severely decreasing in a short amount of time. Luckily however, in this case it’s worked fairly well in preserving crocodile numbers, while keeping them manageable.