Four men in Australia have been branded strong contenders for the “idiots of the century award” after posing for pictures inside a baited crocodile trap not far from where a fatal attack occurred a week earlier.
Douglas Shire Mayor Julie Leu was stunned after images of the group’s Queensland stunt surfaced on Facebook on October 20.
“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, adding that the area where the trap was situated was a well known croc habitat.
In a further interview she said the group were “absolute idiots”.
The pictures show the men posing with broad smilies inside the trap which is location not far from where a 4.3-metre crocodile killed 79-year-old dementia sufferer Anne Cameron.
That crocodile was euthanased by rangers in the Mowbray River, south of Port Douglas, however, they could not rule out other large crocodiles being in the area.
It is not illegal to swim around crocodile traps, however, the men could be fined $15,000 (£8,844) each if they are identified and convicted of interfering with the trap, local media reports stated.
Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has launched an investigation into the stunt which a spokesperson condemned as “stupid and reckless”.
Queensland’s environment minister, Steven Miles, also expressed disbelief over the pictures, writing on Twitter: “Srsly? The meat we put in these traps is bait. For crocodiles. Don’t swim in them! It’s stupid and illegal.”
Miles later 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.”
He added: “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, literally where we are trying to capture the crocodiles.”