‘Idiots’ swim into baited crocodile trap near fatal attack

About the time when authorities were attempting to catch a crocodile that was believed responsible in the death of a woman, four men were photographed swimming inside a baited crocodile trap in the Mowbray River in Queensland, Australia.

Authorities are searching for the men in the photos that also show them climbing on the trap. Another shows a man having closed the crocodile trap with three men inside as a practical joke.

The men are facing fines of $15,000 each for interfering with a baited crocodile trap, according to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian.

The incident occurred at Port Douglas Marina near where resident Anne Cameron went missing in a suspected crocodile attack about two weeks ago.

Seven News reported that authorities placed several crocodile traps along the Mowbray River in attempt to catch the offending crocodile, which they eventually did.

Reactions throughout the community about the hijinks were one of disbelief, and the men were criticized harshly—and deservedly—for their foolhardiness.

"I was absolutely gobsmacked; this is incredibly stupid and dangerous behavior," Port Douglas mayor Julie Leu told ABC Radio, according to the Herald. "I’m wondering if these fellows are vying for the idiots of the year award or the idiots of the century award."

Queensland Environmental Minister Steve Miles expressed his dismay in a tweet: "Srsly? The meat we put in these traps is bait. For crocodiles. Don't swim in them! It's stupid and illegal."

"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," Miles 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."

Brett Olds of the Cairns Regional Council told 7 News: "You can't be doing that. And the fact is it's dangerous. If they get eaten, then you've got more of the public up in arms again. There's no good reason to be doing that."

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