BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
AUSTRALIAN saltwater crocodile specialist Dr Matthew Brien has introduced a concept which was successfully implemented in Australia to manage saltwater crocodiles.
From the concept Solomon Islands may learn from the idea to reduce conflict between humans and crocodiles and conserve crocodile species for other economic benefits.
Solomon Islands along with Papua New Guinea and Northern Territory of Australia have high populations of saltwater crocodile, which poses a dangerous environment for humans.
In a workshop recently, Brien shared Australia’s management concept to the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology and Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.
He said the concept is successfully used in Australia, and it really minimises the conflict between humans and saltwater crocodiles which Solomon Islands can learn from.
Brien adds, the concept might not be similar to Solomon Islands but some are relevant in terms of managing the species from hurting people and conserving them for trading.
“In Australia we manage crocodile not similar to Solomon Islands, so in the Solomon’s they started monitoring, removal and education—three very important thing which Australia we also doing.
“We also do farming and trade and Solomon’s have the potential to do some trade as well.
“I think there is similar ways to do it but there are differences between Australia and Solomon Islands. Australia is a big island and you can move around pretty easily whereas in the Solomon’s a lot of Islands and it’s hard to move around.
“A lot of challenges here but you can still do some stuff and I think some of the work has been done is very positive.”
Brien commended the RSIPF saying they’ve done a very good job by working with communities across Solomon Islands to reduce the conflict between crocs and humans.
On the other hand, Brien also acknowledged the MECDM and WorldFish for joining forces in the Crocodile Management Project, saying they are moving in the right direction.
Deputy Director for Conservation Division of the MECDM Mr Josef Hurutarau said saltwater crocodile has been a priority of successive Solomon Islands Governments policies.
He said increasing crocodile-human conflicts is of concern which ignites government’s attention of need to conduct survey and development of National Management Plan.
“The MECDM corporate plan 2018—2020 highlights saltwater crocodile population surveys as an important priority output,” he said.