An image of a man casually strolling past a giant crocodile basking in the sun in the far north of Queensland, Australia is causing a stir online.
The man could be seen walking across a river bank with his phone in his hand just a few meters from the animal, while another man stood a little further away.
The photos at the Russell River near Babinda, south of Cairns, were first uploaded to social media and later uploaded shared by Cairns Postwhich reported that locals were angry at the man for disturbing the crocodile, known as Clyde, and risking its removal.
“If this continues it will only be a matter of time before old Clyde becomes a target for removal,” one person said.
Another described the scene as “incredible human behavior.”
But as the photos gained wider attention, Aussies at FNQ defended the man.
Some claimed it was at a safe distance in daylight, so there was no need to worry.
“There’s nothing wrong with that… when that guy is ankle deep fishing there and the crocodile is nowhere to be seen, that’s when the problems start,” one person wrote.
“Who cares? People know crocodiles are predatory and potentially dangerous…if they still want to risk it, who gives a f-k anyway? It’s called ‘free will,'” said another.
“They want us to live with them. Then you criticize us for just living with them,” a third added.
A fourth person quipped: “What about the worry? He is not.”
The Queensland Government’s Crocwise campaign warns people to stay at least five meters away from water as crocodiles often hunt their prey there.
Just a few weeks earlier there was another manufactured headline about fishing on the same bank, just meters from the Clyde.
Speaking to Nine News At the time, Croc Country Australia owner Jesse Crampton said he saw people feeding Clyde, which actually put not only the people but Clyde in danger.
“I’ve personally seen over the years people down there feeding it fish and taking large carcasses like wallaby carcasses off the road and putting on their own attack shows,” he said.
He added: “When crocodiles lose their fear of humans and are given food associated with humans, then they become dangerous animals.”
“And if any animal is considered an imminent threat, it’s her [Department of Environment and Science] Remove it to reduce the risk of someone getting killed.”
A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science said it was “frustrating to see people taking unnecessary, life-threatening risks in known crocodile habitats”.