A group of men in Australia have been branded “idiots of the century” after they were photographed inside a baited crocodile trap in northeast Australia.
The Australian Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) has reportedly launched an investigation into “stupid and reckless interference” with the traps at the Port Douglas marina in Queensland.
Photos of the men swimming around and even climbing into the trap at the Port Douglas Marina have surfaced online, leaving the mayor of Douglas Shire, Julia Leu, stunned.
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“I was absolutely gobsmacked, this is incredibly stupid and dangerous behaviour. I’m wondering if these fellows are vying for the idiots of the year award or the idiots of the century award,” she told ABC radio.
The pictures show the men “frolicking in the water and sitting in the mouth of the trap at the marina, not far from where a 4.3m croc took 79-year-old dementia sufferer Anne Cameron”, says The Guardian.
Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven metres long and weigh more than a tonne, are a common feature of Australia’s tropical north and kill an average of two people a year.
Their numbers have “exploded since they were declared a protected species in the 1970s, with Cameron’s death reigniting calls to control them”, says NDTV.
Queensland’s environment minister, Steven Miles, also expressed his disbelief at the men’s behaviour.
“It appears they’ve... swum under a sign that says it’s illegal to tamper with this trap and put themselves literally where we put the bait,” he said. “I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous things in my time as environment minister, particularly when it comes to crocodiles, but this one takes the cake.”
He added it was not illegal to swim around croc traps. “You can’t make everything that’s stupid illegal,” he said.
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