Territory Stories

Management program for the saltwater crocodile in the Northern Territory of Australia 2009-2013



Management program for the saltwater crocodile in the Northern Territory of Australia 2009-2013


Fukuda, Yusuke; Delaney, Robyn; Leach, Gregory J

Issued by

Northern Territory. Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




The draft program is open for public comment to Friday 29 May 2009. Includes Summary document.


Date:2009-04; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Crocodylus porosus -- Northern Territory; Crocodiles -- Conservation -- Northern Territory; Crocodiles -- Control -- Northern Territory; Crocodiles -- Government Policy -- Northern Territory

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication





60 pages : illustration, maps ; 30 cm.

File type





Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Related links

http://hdl.handle.net/10070/214159[Final Edition]

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Draft Management Program for the Saltwater Crocodile in the Northern Territory 11 2.5.2 Commercial harvesting and use Saltwater Crocodiles were commercially hunted in the Northern Territory before they were protected in 1971. Ranching operations commenced in 1987. Initial management programs for crocodiles (C. porosus and C. johnstoni) in the Northern Territory included harvest of eggs, hatchlings, juveniles and adults from the wild to rear in captivity for production. The 1998 management program (PWCNT 1998) also provided for non-hatchlings to enter trade directly after harvesting, without the need to spend time in a farm. However, the poor quality of skins from wild animals means this source is rarely used. Numbers harvested increased from 17 individuals in 1997 to 158 individuals in 2001 but subsequently reduced to 65 individuals in 2007. This does not include nuisance crocodiles removed by NRETAS. The harvest of eggs is a critical component of the Northern Territory crocodile industry. Since farming started in the early 1980s, the total number of eggs collected has increased from 135 in 1984 to a maximum of 40,702 in 2006-07. There are currently six functional crocodile farms in the Northern Territory, which collectively held approximately 105,000 non-hatchling C. porosus as at end of June 2008. 3. Threats and Impacts Existing patterns of land use (chiefly pastoral, reserves and Indigenous lands) in the range of the Saltwater Crocodile are generally consistent with retaining large wetland areas and their dependent crocodile populations. Groombridge (1987) and Jenkins (1987) have detailed potential threats to crocodile populations worldwide. As with all crocodilian species, most threats (direct and indirect) impacting C. porosus are anthropogenic in origin. There are few known threats to the conservation status of C. porosus in the Northern Territory. The impact of climate change through changes in sea levels and rainfall patterns is an increasingly important but unquantified threat to Saltwater Crocodile habitat. 3.1 Natural predators The only significant predator of adult crocodiles apart from humans is other crocodiles with larger Saltwater Crocodiles eating small animals of both species. There are predators of young hatchlings such as fish (barramundi) and birds (Black-necked Stork). Saltwater Crocodiles are thought to be little affected by Cane Toad (Rhinella marina, formerly Bufo marinus) poisoning (van Dam et al. 2002; Letnic 2008) possibly because the species is continuously distributed from Australia to south-east Asia where other related species are also found. 3.2 Drought, flood and climate change Drought is likely to have a significant but not long-lasting impact on C. porosus populations unless coupled with other factors. Heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding, particularly associated with cyclones can cause localised egg and juvenile mortality (Webb and Smith, 1987). One of the major effects of climate change is an anticipated rise in sea level with conservative estimates (Hennessy et al. 2004, 2007) anticipating an increase in sea level of 50 centimetres by 2100 and a corresponding loss of coastal floodplain systems and wetland