Four men photographed swimming into a baited crocodile trap near the scene of a fatal attack in Queensland appear to be vying for the “idiots of the century award”, a local mayor says.
Photos of the men swimming around and even climbing into the trap at the Port Douglas Marina have surfaced online, leaving Douglas Shire Mayor Julie Leu stunned.
“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, climbing on top of the trap and sitting in the mouth of it.
The marina is not far from where a 4.3-metre croc took 79-year-old dementia sufferer Anne Cameron.
The croc that took her less than two weeks ago was trapped in the Mowbray River, south of Port Douglas.
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has launched an investigation into the “stupid and reckless interference”.
“These traps are specifically designed to attract crocodiles and they are deployed in places where a problem crocodile is known to be present,” a department spokesperson said in a statement.
“It is extremely dangerous to interfere with a crocodile trap, regardless of whether or not there is a crocodile within.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that interfering with crocodile traps can be potentially life-threatening for the person concerned.”
Queensland’s Environment Minister Steven Miles has also expressed disbelief, tweeting the image with the message: “Srsly? The meat we put in these traps is bait. For crocodiles. Don’t swim in them! It’s stupid and illegal.”
The men could be fined $15,000 each if they are identified and convicted of interfering with a crocodile trap.