The Mirarr people in the Northern Territory are calling for a review of the management of crocodiles in their community.
Malarndirri McCarthy

29 Jan 2014 - 4:50 PM  UPDATED 27 Jun 2015 - 4:43 PM

The call comes with the recent crocodile attack on a 12–year-old boy at Madjinbardi Billabong in Kakadu National Park.

The tragic event has caused questions to arise over the management of crocodiles in the area.

"We are not calling for a mass cull, we are just saying that we should be able to have an adult, mature conversation about a range of aspects of crocodile management in the place," said Justin O'Brien from the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation.

"They might be [on] swimming pools, it could be community education, it could be signage, it could be safe places dedicated to swimming, it could be school-based education and it will be about the number of crocodiles there. It might be about the ways to reduce the population apart from killing, such as harvesting croc eggs in the park,"

It's estimated there are around 100,000 crocodiles in the Northern Territory that inhabit the large tracts of rivers and billabongs.

But crocodiles have been protected by federal legislation since 1971.

Mr O’Brien says the increasing population and movement of crocodiles is deeply troubling for the Mirarr people and other traditional owners.

"Our concern has been that we have a focus in Kakadu on visitor safety and on the protection of the crocodiles, but not on the safety of the residents there," said Mr O’Brien.

For the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, any review concerning Kakadu would need collaboration from the federal government.

"I guess the message is simple though, people who have been managing this property for 30 years should be listening to those who've been managing it for tens of thousands of years. It’s high time we saw traditional owners directly involved in the management,” said Mr O’Brien.

With local children back at school this week, counsellors have been brought in to assist students cope with the loss of their friend.