August 20, 2014 18:28 UTC

As It Is

Crocodile Attacks Increase

Crocodile feeds at Darwin's Crocodile Farm in Australia.
Crocodile feeds at Darwin's Crocodile Farm in Australia.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story

Hello.  I’m Jim Tedder in Washington.  On today’s program, we hear about some children who are learning not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but are also being told about real monsters that may live in their back yards.  Then we are off, once again, to the South China Sea.  It is fishing season, and tensions are rising.  We will tell you why.  The Voice of America, As It Is, and you.  What a nice combination!
 
Of all animals that live both on land and in water, the crocodile is among the most threatening to human beings. And in northern Australia, attacks have increased greatly since crocodile hunting was banned in the 1970s.
 
Today, wildlife officials in Australia’s Northern Territory are working to protect humans from the animals. Their efforts began after several deadly attacks in recent years. The new “Crocwise” campaign even involves school children. The message being presented to students is clear: One of nature’s most effective killers lives among them.
 
Rachel Pearce works with the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory. She recently met with school children in the city of Darwin.  Ranger Pearce spoke about the dangers of the world’s biggest reptile. She showed them the remains of a crocodile’s head.
 
One little girl definitely understood Ms. Pearce’s message.  She said you must not swim near crocs.
 
“They are dangerous and they might bite you.” 
                                                             
Rachel Pearce said that as the numbers of crocodiles increase, so do threats to humans. She said crocodiles get on land near housing – and sometimes find their way inside people’s homes.
 
“Lots of people here live on creeks. They have big, open houses. When the rivers rise, the crocs are able to go wherever they like, and quite often they’ll walk up into people’s backyards looking for their dogs or different things. So they are in very close proximity with people here.”
                      
Crocodylus Park in Darwin is home to thousands of these extremely aggressive reptiles. It is one of Australia’s leading crocodile research centers. Charlie Manolis is the park’s chief scientist. He says some animals have been reported to use their sharp teeth to break an aluminum boat.
 
Television advertising warns of the dangers as northern Australians learn to live with crocodiles. Officials have set up a 50-kilometer crocodile-free exclusion area around heavily populated areas in Darwin and its busy waterfront. Traps catch hundreds of the reptiles each year. The animals are sold to crocodile farms that produce meat and objects like belts made from reptile skins.
 
In northern Australia, about one person dies from a crocodile attack every year. Most victims are not foreigner tourists who disobey warnings. Instead, they are Australians. Many people have grown up swimming in a local waterway or creek. But the spread of the crocodile has made those places too dangerous for humans to enter.

 
It’s fishing season in the South China Sea.  And clashes between Chinese fishermen and those of their seagoing neighbors are increasing.  They are all demanding what they say are their rights. Christopher Cruise has the details.

The Philippines recently officially protested to China about use of the South China Sea.  A fleet of 32 Chinese fishing boats sailed toward the Spratly islands. In May, the Philippines said China had vessels around a place called Second Thomas Shoal. It reported that the vessels included a military ship, two intelligence ships and some fishing boats.
 
Philippine official Raul Hernandez criticized the presence of the Chinese ships and boats as illegal.  The Philippines says those waters are within its 370-kilometer area of exclusion.
 
“The concern of the Philippines is that this area, this shoal, is really an integral part of our national territory.”
 
This is the second year that military vessels have sailed so far south with Chinese fishing boats at this time of year. To help its fish stocks recover, China bans fishing near its own shores from the middle of May through August. Then it moves into waters claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
 
The fishing ban causes special problems for Vietnam.  The country refuses to recognize limitation of use on waters it claims as its own. This has led to sometimes violent clashes. For example, Vietnam has protested officially to China because it says a Chinese vessel crashed into one of its ships on purpose late last month.
 
Li Mingjiang is a security expert at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.  He says the Chinese trips to the Spratlys have been going on for many years – but the situation is worse now.
 
Mr. Hernandez says this year’s Chinese fishing trip may appear to be normal and usual.  But he says in his words, it is meant to “aggressively claim the whole of the South China Sea.”
 
Still, China continually has said it has a right to the Spratlys, which it calls the Nansha Islands  And it says that its behavior is beyond criticism.
 
While it fights on the diplomatic level, the Philippines is also talking severely.  President Benigno Aquino has announced one-point-eight billion dollars to improve the military.  He said his country will always stand up to anybody who threatens it.
 
Carl Thayer is a security expert with the Australian Defense Force Academy.  He says Mr. Aquino will have a hard time supporting his words.
 
“Until their force modernization takes hold which is years away, there’s nothing much they can do except make public protests.”
 
I’m Christopher Cruise.
 
And I’m Jim Tedder in Washington.  Thank you for spending some time with us on this Thursday, the twentieth day of June.  It was exactly 38 years ago today that American movie goers were screaming with fear as Richard Dreyfus and Robert Shaw set out to destroy the great white shark known as “Jaws.”
 
Birthdays today include actor John Goodman, who is 61, actress Nicole Kidman turns 46, and Cyndi Lauper is 60. She is the one who taught us the important lesson that …
 
“Girls just want to have fun.”
 
We hope you had some fun today listening to As It Is.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Poshih Chiu from: Taiwan, R.O.C.
06/23/2013 3:19 PM
It is important to protect crocodiles from being slaughtered, and it is also necessary to protect people from being hurt by the wild animals. Living with wild life peacefully is enjoyable, but we don't know how these creatures are really thinking all the time. So being careful is the best policy!


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
06/22/2013 5:10 PM
Thank you for the presentation. Australia's negligence in the saftey of citizens is alarming. People living amid crocodile outing is dangerous and frieghtening. If I'm not mistaken, the B.B.C live show specialist John steves( I do not know it is his real name) was told to have died of crocodile hit. Any nation showing this kind of criminal negligence should be brought before international court. Thank you.


by: Nectaries Gkinakis from: Athens, Greece
06/22/2013 4:44 PM
Comment about fishing in the South East region: I strongly believe that tensions between China, Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan will get increased in the coming years. Moreover, the disputed issues are quite difficult to be solved peacefully - in other words - with political and diplomatic means.


by: patrick mutombo from: U.S.A.
06/22/2013 1:09 AM
The crocodiles is a very dangerous predator. In my country(D.R.CONGO) almost 75 killed per year. Now somebody eat a crocodile.


by: Poshih Chiu from: Taiwan, R.O.C.
06/20/2013 12:59 PM
People In northern Australia look like living in an open zoo excluisvely for crocodiles, which seems a lttle exciting and interesting. However, they living with these fierce wild animals day and night could be attacked by accident if being careless. In this way, they would lead a fearful life, which might not be very enjoyable. Wildlife is necessarily protected, so are northern Australians' safety taken care of. Furthermore, the population of crocodiles has to be controlled, otherwise sometime in the future northern Australians might be forced to abandon their home due to the overcrowded reptiles crawling over the land.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
06/20/2013 7:59 AM
I understand crocodiles are dangerous enough to eat even human. I wonder crocodiles have no predators, so that they have no threat to decrease in number. Are they not affected by environmental change or poaching? Do they have strong reproductive power?


by: Leo from: Colombia
06/20/2013 3:24 AM
I'm not concerned about the crocs attacks, 1 person killed per year in Australia is very little, I think it is even a smaller number than persons killed by dogs :)
Thanks for the report VOA.

Learn with The News

  • Founders Chef Ype Von Hengst (right  and Robert Giaimo during construction of the first Silver Diner in 1989. (Courtesy of Silver Diner)

    Audio Diners Increase Business with Healthy Food

    Restaurants called “diners” can be found throughout the United States. They make simple, low-cost food. But traditional diner food is often unhealthy. One group of diners is cooking healthier food for their customers and, surprisingly, they love it. More

  • Edie Mukiibi, the new vice president of Slow Food International, at a school garden he helped create in Mukono, Uganda, July 22, 2014. (Hilary Heuler/VOA)

    Audio Learning to Grow Traditional Foods in Uganda

    The "slow food" movement is growing in the Western world, but not in Africa. Group works to help people in Uganda and other countries grow local, healthy food. | Agriculture Report More

  • A man is lead away after being detained by police. Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.

    Audio More Than 70 Arrested in Missouri Protests

    Police arrested more than 70 protestors and reporters Monday night and early Tuesday in the central U.S. town of Ferguson, Missouri. The demonstrators were protesting the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer on August 9. More

  • Demonstrators stand in the middle of West Florissant as they react to tear gas fired by police during ongoing protests in reaction to the shooting of teenager Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, August 18, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Ta

    Audio Police Actions Cause Anger

    Many Americans are angry about the police use of military practices and equipment, like rubber bullets and tear gas, against protestors in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City. Protests happened after the recent deaths of unarmed civilians when they clashed with police officers. More

  • FILE - A Lowland Gorilla is seen in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in South Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Audio Ebola Kills More Than Humans

    The recent outbreak of the Ebola virus has taken more than 1,000 human lives in West Africa. But it is also killed many endangered western lowland gorillas. More

Featured Stories

  • sleep

    While You Sleep, Your Brain Works

    While we sleep, our brains are doing much more than getting ready for the next day. Researchers at the University of Rochester found that the brain may be busy cleaning house -- cleaning out harmful waste materials. More

  • Biltmore Outdoor

    Audio Biltmore Estate Takes Visitors Back in Time

    The huge home in North Carolina was built at the end of the 1800s. The man who owned the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina was George Vanderbilt. Biltmore has 250 rooms and the house is now open to the public. | This Is America More

  • Audio English at the Movies: Robin Williams

    Robin Williams was a humorist and a highly-trained actor. We look at some of his most famous movie lines from a Learning English angle | American Mosaic More

  • Audio From Huge to Extra Small, at New York City Museum

    Currently the Queens Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the New York World's Fair. The museum show is called “Bringing the World Into the World.” It includes a huge model of New York City that was made for the fair. | American Mosaic More

  • Some considered John Brown a hero.

    Audio John Brown Raids Harpers Ferry

    In October of 1859, a group of anti-slavery extremists attacked the town of Harpers Ferry. Harpers Ferry was part of Virginia then; today it is located in West Virginia. A man named John Brown led the attack. His group seized a gun factory and a center where the government kept military equipment. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs