People have been attempting to catch crocodiles using baited lines to boost their social media cred – only to catch the attention of Queensland authorities instead.
In the past two months, three reports have been received by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection of people trying to catch crocodiles with baited lines.
Environment Minister Steven Miles said EHP was investigating the incidents in the Douglas, Hinchinbrook and Whitsunday shires.
“In each instance, the size of the baits used and the places they were found clearly suggests that crocodiles are being targeted,” Dr Miles said.
Dr Miles said in at least one case, it seemed the people taking part were doing so to “bolster their social media presence”.
“They achieved this objective, their Facebook posts leading us to investigate their actions,” he said.
“It’s frankly unbelievable that members of the public would contemplate doing this, it shows a complete disregard for personal and public safety.”
Dr Miles said crocodiles were potentially lethal animals, particularly if they were being interfered with or tempted with food.
“The danger is real at all times, but as it’s now mating season crocs can become very territorial and aggressive, particularly if they feel threatened,” he said.
“To attempt to attract them and to – heaven forbid – try to capture them is both illegal and seriously life-risking behaviour.
“Other members of the public can also be placed at greater risk if crocodiles begin to associate a particular place with food.”
Crocodiles in the wild are protected in Queensland.
Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, a fine of up to $4876 can apply to a person found guilty of feeding dangerous native wildlife without authority, and a penalty of $27,427 if a person is found guilty of taking a crocodile without authority.
EHP will conduct land and vessel-based patrols of streams and estuaries in croc country over the summer months.
Report sightings of crocodiles causing concerns to EHP on 1300 130 372.