Two men were heavily fined last week after pleading guilty to charges relating to separate cases of illegal possession of crocodile remains.
Ronald Clifton Wood, 51, from Collie, was charged with one count of possessing protected fauna and one charge of bringing fauna into the State.
Wood did not appear on the charge but made an endorsed plea of guilty to both charges when the matter was heard in Broome Magistrate’s Court on Monday, July 23.
He had been camping and fishing near Fitzroy River on November 10, 2011, when Department of Fisheries officers inspected his freezer and found the head and feet of a saltwater crocodile. The officers, who also seized three firearms,
then referred the case to the Department of Environment and Conservation district wildlife officer.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Matt Fearnley said Wood, a non-indigenous man, told the officers he had come across
Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and swapped a bottle of rum for the crocodile parts, because he wanted them as a trophy.
Sen. Sgt. Fearnley said Aboriginal people were legally permitted to hunt crocodile, but only for food.
Meanwhile, in the second case, also heard in Broome Magistrates Court last Monday, a 31-year-old Broome man pleaded guilty to the charge of taking protected fauna without authority of a licence. He was fined $1200.
Farley Cain Bancroft was fishing near Snake Creek camp, Camballin, on November 15, 2011, with a group including two tourists. Fisheries officers were alerted when they heard a gun shot and later found a tail belonging to a freshwater crocodile in Bancroft’s freezer.
Officers were told the group had been fishing when they hooked a freshwater crocodile, which they reluctantly shot after they couldn’t release it.
The department said Bancroft intended to eat the crocodile meat to tell his international friends what crocodile tasted like. A spokeswoman said crocodiles were listed as protected fauna under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.
“Poaching, killing or interfering with crocodiles or their eggs without authority is an offence and carries penalties of up to $10,000,” she said.