My, but this week's producing Doofi like no other!
Today's Doofus award is a collective one, to Australia's Environmental Protection Agency. They seem to have forgotten, in their collective environmental enthusiasm, that humans need protection too!
A crocodile which has caused beaches to be closed at a north Queensland tourist mecca has gone missing as authorities admit the reptile was deliberately moved to the area.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said yesterday that the 3.5m crocodile had been trapped near the Cape York community of Bamaga earlier this year and released more than 1000km south, in a creek near Townsville, as part of satellite tracking program Crocs in Space to see whether it would establish a new home range.
The beast subsequently began to frequent Magnetic Island, just off Townsville, where beaches have been closed.
Tourism operators on the island are incensed and say they will seek compensation for lost business.
The EPA said it hoped a 3pm (AEST) satellite fix will determine the whereabouts of the crocodile.
"EPA is sympathetic to the Magnetic Island business operators and is endeavouring to catch the crocodile at the earliest opportunity," said Mike Devery, EPA Wildlife Branch Manager.
Labor Member for Townsville Mike Reynolds said he was "absolutely flabbergasted" that the EPA had allowed the crocodile to be released at Cape Cleveland.
He had asked Sustainability Minister Andrew McNamara to ensure no crocodile was released so close to Townsville residents in the future.
"I have had a number of contacts from Magnetic Island residents, business owners and tourists who are all concerned about the presence of such a large crocodile in this urban area," Mr Reynolds said.
Townsville-based marine scientist Walter Starck accused the EPA of "criminal stupidity" in moving the beast.
Dr Starck said the EPA didn't notify the public of the move.
"If a private citizen were to do something like that, my God, they'd be subject to horrendous fines and penalties," he said.
"There's absolutely no scientific justification for it - we have hundreds of thousands of large crocodiles all across the top of Australia living in places where there are no people," Dr Starck said.
As state parliament sat in Cairns, Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg today questioned Tourism Minister Desley Boyle over the "hare-brained scientific experiment".
In case US readers aren't familiar with the type of animal in question, it's a saltwater crocodile. These are very dangerous creatures indeed, known to attack humans. The picture below shows one jumping from the water in the Kakadu National Park, Australia.
This breed of crocodile is responsible for the single most horrific mass attack by crocodiles on humans ever recorded, at Ramree Island, off the Burmese coast, during World War II. According to Peter Capstick, in his book, 'Death In The Long Grass':
At the time that Burma was being retaken by the Allies, about 1,000 Japanese infantrymen became caught between the open sea and the island of Ramree, deep in mangrove swamps crawling with crocs, expecting to be evacuated by ships that never arrived. Trying to retreat, they found themselves cut off by the British Royal Navy in such position that they could not regain the mainland. When night came, so did the crocodiles. Witnesses on the British ships have told of the horror of the mass attack on the men, of the terrible screaming that continued until dawn, when only 20 men out of 1,000 were left alive. Certainly, some were killed by enemy fire and others by drowning, but all evidence points up that most were slaughtered by the big salt-water crocs.
I knew Peter Capstick in South Africa, and when I first heard this yarn from him, I was a bit skeptical: so I did some research. I was amazed to find that his story was accurate. It is, indeed, mentioned in official reports and in memoirs written by those who served there. What a ghastly way to die!
And that type of crocodile, dear readers, is what the Australian EPA chose to release a thousand miles south of its normal range, right in the heart of tourist country! Doofi, for sure!