Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Mon 4 Jun 2012



The Northern Territory news Mon 4 Jun 2012

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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4 NT NEWS. Monday, June 4, 2012. www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 4 -J U N -2 0 1 2 P A G E : 4 C O L O R : C M Y K Big game bites back Safari hunter Peter Davidson is recovering after he was mauled by a lion at Crocodylus Park Pictures: BRAD FLEET HE is a Territory safari hunter who does not like killing animals. But that has not stopped several animals trying to kill Peter Davidson including Shebe the lioness who savaged his arm at Crocodylus Park three months ago. This is my eighth or ninth life, Mr Davidson said, pointing at the pressure bandage on his right forearm. He pulls off the black velcro glove and bandage so I can get a look at Shebes handiwork. If you didnt know how Mr Davidson, 41, got his scars and he told you it was a lion you would believe him. A large chunk of flesh and muscle about 3cm in diameter and 0.5cm deep has been gouged from his forearm. It is so deep that when he flexes you can see the tendons twitch beneath a thin layer of purple skin that has been grafted from his right thigh. He turns his arm over and I can see Shebes teeth marks stretch from above his wrist to his elbow. Mr Davidson wont talk about the attack because he has lodged a worker compensation claim and is waiting for an outcome. Mr Davidson who works for Wildman Land Management was conducting a survey of the weeds at Crocodylus Park when he became Shebes mid-morning snack on March 2. After the attack, his business partner Geoff Fleming said Mr Davidson put his arm through the bars of the cage to give Shebe a scratch and she bit him. The parks lion keeper, who was with Mr Davidson at the time, helped to free him from Shebes jaws, but how he did that is unclear. Although Mr Davidson wont talk about it, he gives an incredulous look when asked if he poked Shebe in the eye. Apparently that is not true. Mr Davidson said the re covery has been a nightmare literally. He regularly dreams that he is being eaten by lions. And the pain is constant. This morning he has not massaged the antiinflammatory cream into his arm so he is restless. For someone who has spent his life leading safaris for wild buffalo, boar and banteng (a south-east Asian breed of wild cattle) in Arnhem Land, Mr Davidson has appeared in the NT News very rarely. We are a private family, Mr Davidson said. He is the chief guide with Hunt Arnhemland, which was founded by his stepfather and late mother Max and Philippa Davidson. The family has won local and international tourism awards, including the Gourmet Traveller Jaguar award and two Safari Club International awards for South Pacific guide of the year. We are the only father-son combination to ever win it in history, he said. Mr Davidson conducts Top End safari hunts for multimillionaire big game hunters from around the world for whom expense is simply not an obstacle. According to his website, a 10-day hunt will set you back $22,000 per person. Recently he helped at a hunt including Argentinian tango singer Fernando Soler. The monstrous horns of two buffaloes shot during the four-day safari are in the back of his ute still ripe with the scent of death. The skull caps of the buffalo will be boiled in a 200 litre drum and then soaked in peroxide before being sent to a taxidermist for mounting. Eventually they will grace the walls of Mr Solers home. Mr Davidson said he hunts to carry on the family business and to pay the bills. It is about carrying on the family name and reputation be it plumber, be it electrician it could have been anything, Im an efficient killer. I dont like it, but I am good at it. I have been taught by the best ... but killing sort of gets to you a bit. As a child, Mr Davidson was more interested in rescuing animals. He fished lizards out of the pool and lay them in the sun to warm. Once he kept a flying fox in his cupboard. His hero was Harry Butler a naturalist who had a popular childrens show on ABC called In the Wild. He shot his first buffalo at 12 out at Channel Point. But it was not for a trophy. It was for meat; it was for the dogs, he said. He said for some big game hunters, killing animals was an ego trip. They are like stamp collectors. They come over to shoot different species of animals so they have got to have a banteng, a buffalo, a pig, a goat and a deer from the South Pacific. But there is also a thrill in the hunt: checking the direction of the wind, surveying the land and anticipating which path the beast will take. If you can get up on a wild animal without it knowing you are there, or smelling you, or seeing you, then take it that is an achievement. By the time he gets shot he does not even know we are there, Mr Davidson said. But you cant hunt for 30 years without notching up a few battle scars. During his career in Arnhem Land and Benin in West Africa he has been charged by an elephant and squashed by a buffalo; rolled his Land Rover when he hit a lion at dusk, and accidentally stabbed himself in the arm while doing a head skin. That was fatigue, working too hard. he said. But Shebes jaws have sunk in the deepest. He still has a long way to go to rehabilitate his right arm but that has not stopped Mr Davidson planning his next adventure. He is going to the Central African Republic in November. But this time his quarry wont be animals. His career has turned full circle and Mr Davidson will be tracking elephant poachers.

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