A CROCODILE hunter has challenged the Irwin family to a public debate about the predators, accusing them of "not knowing what they are talking about".
Mick Pitman, a crocodile products industry consultant and taxidermist, and his business partner Michaela Johnston today criticised a north Queensland crocodile research centre to be built in memory of the late Steve Irwin.
Australia Zoo has said the reserve would protect a spectrum of wildlife species, including crocodiles.
However, Mr Pitman, known as "Crocodile Mick", today said the Irwins' latest venture would financially hurt the commercial crocodile industry.
"The Irwins state on their website 'sustainable use' of native wildlife in so-called modern nations like Australia and the USA has inadvertently created a multi-million dollar 'bushmeat' industry, where local people kill native wildlife for meat, skins and products," he said.
"Wake up Australians! The Irwins have rode off the back of the crocodile now for many years and have made a lot of money in the process."
Mr Pitman is now based in Darwin after living on Cape York for more than 20 years.
Ms Johnston said sustainable use was the "use of resources at a rate which will meet the needs of the present without impairing the ability of future generations to meet their needs".
"Crocodiles are no longer on the endangered list anymore - they have been downgraded to vulnerable. That's why sustainable use of our natural resources is so important," Ms Johnston said.
"People have and continue to use living, natural resources.
"The Irwins ... must remember that there needs to be a balance.
"They wear leather belts and shoes and probably sit down to a fat juicy steak at a night-time and voice their opinions publicly everyday.
"We are sick of their uninformed comments regarding what is good for the crocodile and the industry."
The pair challenged the Irwins to a public debate about the issue.
"We challenge the Irwins to a debate in the public arena where they like to play to show the public that there needs to be a sensible balance drawn," Mr Pitman said.
Mr Pitman, who has previously been involved in a legal tussle with the Irwins and Australia Zoo over the name "Crocodile Hunter", said an earlier call for such a debate had been turned down.
The World Wildlife Fund Australia has also taken a swipe at the federal government in the media over the funding of the Irwin reserve, saying $6 million represented the government's total yearly budget for wildlife habitat.
The Irwins could not be immediately reached for comment.
Seems this crochety north Queenslander, Sweaty armpit Mick Crocodile Pitman is seriously pissed off having missed the gravy boat and notoriety as a Croc Killer.
Surely this Dim head Pitman should have realised, the Irwins were not in the business of killing but entertainment, As was Mick Dundee, I would suggest that Mr Pitman with all his skills and bravado, should stop griping and follow on where the Irwins left off, in the entertainment industry.
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
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