Advertisement

Fury over fisherman's dangerous social media crocodile stunt

Queensland is being urged to jail people who lure crocodiles for clicks and likes on social media.

Footage uploaded to social media showing a large male crocodile appearing to be lured to the water’s edge on Queensland's Whitsundays has sparked anger.

The 38-second clip shows a live fish with a hook in its mouth being dangled on the end of a line. At 21 seconds in, a large crocodile lunges out of the water and grabs the creature in his jaws. As people behind the camera laugh, someone can be heard exclaiming “There he is,” and then, “My God, I’m getting all of this on video”.

The crocodile is understood to be a dominant alpha called Boofhead who inhabits a well-known bank on the Proserpine River.

Left - Boofhead the crocodile coming out of the water. Right - the fish before Boofhead grabbed it.
Boofhead the crocodile was filmed launching out of the Proserpine River moments after a fish was dangled in his territory. Source: TikTok

Do you know more about influencers baiting crocodiles? Email michael.dahlstrom@yahooinc.com

He’s been the regular target of thrill seekers who bait him with live fish or meat, and then upload video of the encounter to social media. A separate video uploaded two weeks ago shows a group of men described as “UnAustralian deadbeats” trying to lure Boofhead using a dead chicken.

Crocodile advocates fear the practice is leading Boofhead to lose his fear of humans and this could result in the 80-year-old animal being declared dangerous by authorities and shot.

Reads 'What on Earth? Australia has the worst record of mammal extinction in the world.' with a collage of Australian animals and landscape.
Discover more of our environment coverage.

Luring crocodiles for social media videos not a joke

The video has been shared widely on social media since it was spotted by conservationist Paul Bowen who runs the emerging Croc Conscious YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts, which promote crocodile safety messaging.

Speaking with Yahoo News Australia, Bowen said the video had left him feeling sickened. “The way Australians treat wildlife can be very poor. Things need to change for the better, and posting videos like this online where they’re treated as a joke doesn’t help,” he added.

Like many crocodile advocates, Bowen wants penalties increased, so people who illegally interact with crocodiles face stiffer fines or jail time.

“If they get caught, they just get a slap on the wrist. They’re putting themselves in danger, but they don’t understand the animal they’re playing with” he said. “They might think it’s funny to dangle a fish at them. But that crocodile is probably about 15 feet long (4 metres), with jaw pressure of around 3700 pounds (16,414 newtons).”

You can watch the controversial video below.

Why it's dangerous to lure crocodiles with food

Responding to the video, the Department of Environment and Science (DES) told Yahoo News its rangers want to see locals around the Whitsundays “dob in” anyone who uploads videos of people feeding crocodiles to social media.

“DES has warned people can be fined $6,192 for feeding a wild animal that’s venomous or capable of injuring a person – although the ultimate penalty would be loss of life,” it said. “Crocodiles are wild, deadly animals and feeding them teaches the animals to associate people with food, which can lead them to hang around in areas such as boat ramps to wait for an easy meal.”

Yahoo has attempted to contact the person who uploaded the most recent Boofhead video to TikTok. If you have information about the video, you can contact DES on 1300 130 372.

Love Australia's weird and wonderful environment? Get our new weekly newsletter showcasing the week’s best stories.

Banner reads 'What on Earth' with 'Subscribe to our new weekly newsletter' and a collage of images of australian natural wildlife.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter.