Thursday, April 16, 2009

Victim Briony Goodsell's family calls for crocodile cull

THE grieving family of a schoolgirl killed in a horrific crocodile attack has called for controlled culling and for trophy hunters to be allowed to shoot saltwater crocodiles in Queensland's far north, to ensure the 11-year-old didn't die in vain.Ipswich grandmother Lynda Bennett, 54, also urged the Queensland Government to enforce no-go zones in heavily populated centres like Cairns, Townsville and Mackay to stop people falling prey to saltwater crocodiles, first listed for protection 40 years ago."We want to stop any more suffering," Ms Bennett said yesterday. "It's not like we want people to act like nutters and kill anything that swims by. But we don't want our little girl's death to be meaningless."Ms Bennett's granddaughter, Briony Goodsell, was dragged underwater by a 4m crocodile at Black Jungle Swamp, in rural Darwin, almost a month ago.It emerged for the first time yesterday that a friend of Briony's grabbed her by the arms and tried to pull her free from the 4m killer croc in the deadly tug-of-war."She kept saying to us she was sorry, she could not hold on, and that is what is breaking our hearts," Ms Bennett said. "No child should have to go through that."Ms Bennett said the Government should order an immediate cull of about 20,000 of the 3m to 4m reptiles."The cull word freaks people out, they think mass murder but the only way to control them is to thin out the numbers, and the only way to do that is a cull," she said."To be eaten alive by a crocodile is a horrific way for a loved one to die. We don't want another family to go through what we are going through."She said a rogue croc safari and wild egg harvesting would thin numbers raise revenue for indigenous rangers and the government."Croc numbers are booming in Queensland and we have to learn by what's happening in the Territory with this ongoing spate of attacks," Ms Bennet said.The Northern Territory Government yesterday released a draft plan to increase croc egg harvesting, allow safari hunts and introduce a "no-go zone" around Darwin.The NT is estimated to have the largest population of saltwater crocs in Australia, at more than 80,000, but the proposal stopped short of allowing a widespread cull.Releasing the plan in Darwin, NT Environment Minister Alison Anderson said: "We live in a croc-infested territory. They will kill today, they killed yesterday and they will kill tomorrow."The families of recent Queensland croc victims, Jeremy Doble, 5, in the Daintree, and Arthur Booker, 62, near Cooktown, have opposed a crocodile cull.

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