A MAN has been arrested and charged after allegedly heckling wildlife officers and stirring up a four-metre crocodile they were trying to remove from a river in far north Queensland.
Officers from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection were attempting to remove the large croc from the Johnstone River at Innisfail on November 21 when they were allegedly accosted by the 32-year-old man.
It’s alleged the man bailed the officers up at the Coconuts boat ramp around 12.30pm and started arguing with them as they reversed a trailer into the water to retrieve the trapped croc.
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Police allege the man stood on the trailer and extended the winch and, while the officers were pulling the trap out of the river, allegedly jumped into the waist-deep water and rattled the trap.
Officers ordered the man to get out of the water and to stop interfering with the cage because it was dangerous, but the man allegedly refused to comply and started hurling abuse.
Police said the man’s aggressive behaviour caused the crocodile to become agitated and strike the side of the trap near where he was standing.
Detectives from the Innisfail Criminal Investigation Branch located the 32-year-old Coconuts man on Tuesday.
He was arrested and charged with one count each of obstructing conservation officers and interfering with crocodile traps. He’s due to front Innisfail Magistrates Court on December 18.
Senior Wildlife Officer Tony Frisby said wildlife officers perform a very important and difficult job in locating and removing dangerous crocodiles from waterways.
“Removing a large crocodile is tricky enough and we certainly don’t need intervention by members of the public,” Mr Frisby said.
“If someone obstructs our officers while we are working, not only is it an offence, it can make the situation dangerous for our staff, and for the person interfering.
“It may also cause the crocodile to thrash about and injure itself.
“If you see our officers in the process of removing a crocodile, please stay well clear and abide by any instructions our officers may give.”