By Allan Povah
A man, who police say was “operating in a solo snorkelling activity” off Watson Creek Inlet on Lizard Island (above), has been remanded into custody for allegedly attacking a crocodile with his head.
According to onlookers, the man “repeatedly head-butted the animal” who appeared “traumatised and upset by the incident” and “inconvenienced by the snorkel”. The man himself suffered abrasions to his head, and his flippers and snorkel were allegedly written-off.
If proven, this man’s actions are in complete violation of the current FNQ crocodile management plan, released last month, which called for crocodiles to be responded to differently depending on size, temperament and where they are spotted.
The plan allows for verbal teasing and tormenting of estuarine crocodiles, as well as prodding of and thong-throwing at animals of length not exceeding 2.5 metres. Whilst not expressly forbidden, head-butting is clearly well outside the guidelines.
Chief Crocodile Consultant for the northern beaches, Red Robbins, had little sympathy for the accused man. “I’ve had many negotiations with salties that have turned ugly, and on one or two occasions I’ve resorted to a Liverpool kiss to get my point across. I’m not proud of that, but times are different now, and we all have had to change our ways. It’s all about mutual respect. Whoever this joker is, they should throw the book at him.”
Charges are yet to be laid, but the as yet unnamed assailant could be facing up to twenty years’ jail.