Since moving to Australia a couple of years ago, Tez Blackmore has witnessed a lot of crazy antics he'd never see at home in West London, but what he filmed on Sunday left him gobsmacked.
The short clip he's shared with Yahoo News Australia shows a local man fishing on a bank just metres from a crocodile. He's reportedly a six-foot-tall (182cm) man who felt relatively comfortable standing near the massive salty.
"I've seen some stupid things in Australia, and some f***ing stupid people, but this takes the p**," Tez can be heard saying behind the camera.
In a second clip, the fisherman can be seen casually walking past the large male crocodile without a care in the world. Although crocodiles are less active in the winter, critics say he's putting both his own life and that of the crocodile at risk.
Why we're keeping the location of this video a secret
If you’re from Far North Queensland you may know the spot where the video was filmed, and you may even know the crocodile’s name. But Tez is asking that we don’t reveal the location for one good reason — he’s worried about the crocodile’s safety.
That’s because when a crocodile becomes accustomed to humans, authorities often see the animal as a danger and remove it.
“He’s a pretty big croc, and he’s not a nuisance, so the last thing I’d want is for anything to happen to him,” he told Yahoo. You can watch the video below.
How behaviour is putting crocodiles at risk
The video has surfaced just two weeks after Queensland’s most colourful crocodile expert Tommy Hayes alerted Yahoo to a series of influencer videos that showed men wading into crocodile territory while angling.
When it comes to the crocodile in the most recent video, Tommy is familiar with the animal and he shares Tez’s concerns.
“What the guy is doing in the video is beyond complacency, it’s f***ing stupidity,” he said. “Where he’s standing is maybe 10 or 15 metres from the crocodile. I’ve got goosebumps and not the good kind,” he said.
Call for tougher penalties for those who take risks around crocodiles
Tommy wants to see laws reformed in Queensland so those who take risks around wild crocodiles face significant penalties for their actions. Both travelling influencers and locals are both known to be too complacent around the animals.
“Crocodiles are creatures of habit and they get used to humans. But they don’t trust humans because they’re friendly, they just know humans aren’t going to hurt them, so they’re just waiting on that moment to strike,” he said.
“It’s a natural behaviour caused by unnatural things. But that behaviour isn’t caused by the crocodile, it’s caused by humans.”
The Department of Environment and Science (DES) told Yahoo it is "frustrating to see people take unnecessary, life-threatening risks" in crocodile habitat.
"The department is investigating possible changes to regulations to further deter people from taking unnecessary risks in Croc Country," it added.
"However, our main focus is on helping people make sensible choices that avoid placing themselves at risk of attack."
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