January 02, 2007

Croc-a-mammy Tourists

A crocodile in a Far North Queensland Wildlife Park is going to moved after a clever Belgian tourist by the name of Stefaan Vanthournout got bitten on the leg (not eaten, just bitten) after deliberately wading into marked crocodile-infested waters and baiting the saltwater to come near.
"Mr Vanthournout was with a group of about six other tourists who ignored crocodile warning signs and went into Masons Creek, on the south side of Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland, after spotting the saltwater crocodile lying on the riverbank.

The group waded to the other side of the creek and Allan [the crocodile] slipped into the water.

The crocodile was submerged but Mr Vanthournout wanted to get a photo so he grabbed a 30-centimetre stick and started hitting the water so Allan would come up.

Come up he did, lunging at the Belgian and leaving a decent set of teethmarks on his left knee."

Stupidity fails to level this kind of act of disregard for personal safety and common sense. And who ends up paying for it? The poor harrassed animal. (Well I guess Mr Vanthournot didn't get off entirely without anything unfortunate becoming him...)

Alison Gotts, president of the Daintree
Cape Tribulation Tourism Association, says:

"I don't think being tormented by an idiotic tourist warrants his removal. I am annoyed by the decision that the crocodile is the one who is punished.

"If you were being taunted by that tourist you would bite him too. No one here wants him to go, he has been here for about five years."

This also may not be Mr Vanthournot's first adverse encounter with eco-tourism, his girlfriend mentioned he'd been bitten by a monkey before.

A small bite mark on the knee from a 2m saltwater (saltwater's being much more aggressive than freshwaters) is not much. This guy is lucky, but he's stupid.


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