A group of men photographed swimming into a baited croc trap near the scene of a fatal attack in Queensland appear to be vying for the “idiots of the century award”, a local mayor has said.
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.
“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.
The croc that took her less than two weeks ago was trapped in the Mowbray River, south of Port Douglas. Leu said the area around the marina was a well known croc habitat.
Queensland’s environment minister, Steven Miles, 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.”
Miles later said the men were pictured swimming around the trap, climbing onto it and also venturing inside, where they posed for pictures wearing broad smiles.
“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 told reporters. “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.”
Miles said it was dumb but not illegal to swim around croc traps.
“You can’t make everything that’s stupid illegal,” he said.
But any attempt to interfere or tamper with traps would expose offenders to hefty fines.