Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 11:21 UK

Plan to kill saltwater crocodiles

Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney

Saltwater crocodile, Queensland
'Safari hunters' will be able to kill 25 crocodiles a year

Safari hunters could be allowed to kill large saltwater crocodiles under proposals put forward by Australia's Northern Territory government.

There's concern for public safety after a spate of fatal attacks in the region.

Last month a schoolgirl was killed by a crocodile while swimming in a lagoon near Darwin.

Saltwater crocodiles are a protected species in Australia, and conservationists have voiced doubts about the measure.

As tropical cities like Darwin continue to grow, there is more contact between man and beast.

The death of 11-year-old Briony Goodsell prompted calls for a cull.

Instead, the Northern Territory government wants "safari hunters" to be allowed to shoot 25 of these fearsome predators every year.

Conservationists say the suggestion that foreign tourists would pay large sums to take part is "repugnant".

There is also a plan for wildlife rangers to remove all crocodiles from within a 50km ( 32 mile) radius of Darwin and relocate them to more remote areas.

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