Saturday, August 20, 2005
Wild Life Bites
Northern Territory wildlife tour operator David Gifford doubted the wisdom of paddling a canoe in waterways where crocodiles can be 6m in length and weigh up to a tonne.That's an 18 foot crocodile he saw swim past with a cow snack. 6 meters is close to 20 feet long. You would feel like you were in Jurassic Park if you got in the middle of a bunch of large crocs.
He was considering replicating the canoe tours he ran without incident on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe until he saw a 5.5m croc swim past with a cow in its mouth in the NT.
There have now been 19 recorded attacks in Queensland since 1985 – five fatal.and:
Fewer attacks have occurred in the NT despite its huge croc population, far bigger than the 30,000 in Queensland.
Mr Gifford said the lack of attacks in Africa was because crocodiles were widely hunted and so feared humans.
The chairman of the World Conservation Union's crocodile specialist group, Charles Darwin University adjunct Professor Grahame Webb, however, claimed Queensland had got it wrong on croc management.Certainly that is what they are finding out in Florida with gators. The ban on hunting them is now bringing the inevitable results. In 2004 two people were killed and in 2005 already two have died. There have been 17 fatal attacks since 1973 and the last four of these have occurred in about 13 months. In the last five years there have been ten fatal attacks.
"We don't sugar-coat our croc education up here in the (Northern) Territory," he said.
"People aren't told crocs are mysterious or marvellous or whatever, they're told they are killers. In such cases you have to kill the croc responsible."
Commonly accepted figures for total attacks are 127 between 1973 and 1990 and 340 through May 2005. This pdf file contains an updated listing of all attacks by year. There are far more non-fatal attacks. But still the alligator propaganda continues. Alligators have no natural fear of man. If they think they are large enough to eat you they do. This historical account from the late 1800's makes it clear that the animals then feared human beings because of being hunted.
They aren't hunting them enough in Africa, either. Gustave in Burundi, Africa, is claimed to have eaten 17 people in one year:
He travels all the way to the areas of Rumonge and Minago and eats fishermen and bathers en route," Mr Faye says.Here are some pictures taken in south GA near the coast of an alligator swimming off after having grabbed a deer:
"He can eat 10, 15 or 20 people along the bank."
"One year, I followed the path he took on one of his forays and 17 people had been eaten between Kanyosha and Minago, and Kabezi and Magara."
What can I say? There is absolutely no chance for Howard Dean to make any headway about guns in South Georgia. He needs to shut up. There is absolutely no chance of convincing those who know that they and their kids are possible alligator snacks that gun control is a good thing.
As for Howard Dean, he stands a better chance imposing wine consumption limitations in California than he does imposing gun control in the South.
Ah - here in GA we have a reasonable amount of problems with hungry gators. You have to watch children very carefully in some areas. I know a family that won't let their children go out of the house alone because of where they live. I can't say too much, but there is a real danger.
But about Australia - it's amazing. They've got some huge crocodiles. They are fast too. Very fast. I've heard you can outrun them, but I'm sure you can't from a prone position. The saltwater crocs are probably cruising up and down the beaches as if it's a smorgasbord.
SC&A - shhh. Don't threaten the CA wine industry or you'll never get out of SF alive.
Here's a pretty good article.
The snakes are separate animals but they live in Florida in the south of the United States.
This did not translate well.
There are alligators, crocodiles and pythons in Florida.
The rest of the world is mostly saltwater crocodiles or freshwater crocodiles. There are also alligators in China.
Links to this post: