‘This photograph was the hardest I’ve ever had to make’
An epic hunt for a ‘problem’ saltwater crocodile is part of an ongoing plan to save the species in Australia.
I made this photograph to commemorate an epic hunt and the men who took part in it. Some might assume that because they took its life, the men standing beside the crocodile have no respect for the animal. But I’ve learned that it’s possible for hunters to love the creatures that they kill—and to be part of a solution that saves a species. This is the complex situation I wanted to explore when I documented crocodile hunting for National Geographic.
In 1971 saltwater crocodiles became protected in the Northern Territory. As part of the government’s strategy of “incentive-driven conservation,” a set amount of eggs may be collected from the wild, with the hatchlings eventually being farmed for their skin; and