Man fined $12k for catching crocodiles, after posting videos to TikTok
An amateur Queensland crocodile hunter has been fined thousands of dollars after filming videos of himself catching crocodiles and posting them to video-sharing platform TikTok.
The videos showed Jayden Wilson, 27, catching freshwater crocodiles with a lasso and a net in the Ross River near Townsville.
He appeared in the Townsville Magistrates Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to 12 counts of taking a protected animal, dating from November 2020 to November 2021.
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He was fined $12,000 was ordered to pay an additional $1500 in legal costs.
The videos were posted to his TikTok page and two of them were watched more than 100,000 times.
"A member of the public made a cruelty complaint to the RSPCA in 2021, which was then forwarded to DES for investigation," a spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Science said, in a statement.
"An investigation confirmed that the man regularly caught or attempted to catch freshwater crocodiles with rope or by hand in the Ross River."
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Wilson caught and attempted to catch a total of 16 freshwater crocodiles.
The maximum penalty for taking a protected animal is a fine of $163,000.
"Catching or attempting to catch freshwater crocodiles is foolish and risky behaviour – it is also illegal," a spokesperson for the DES said.
"Freshwater crocodiles, including juvenile animals have very sharp teeth which they use to slash from side to side.
"They are capable of inflicting serious injuries on humans. People are reminded never provoke, harass or interfere with freshwater crocodiles – even juveniles, as they will lash out if they feel threatened or cornered."