Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NT News strikes again

[UPDATE] See the comments section below, the NT News is claiming that the original photo is real and the "real" photo of the smaller croc has been faked! That's certainly unusual, as it's normally the larger crocodile that's the exaggeration in stories like this. But thanks guys for responding to this and clearing it up.

Check out this photo and story of a monster crocodile being jumped on the Adelaide River.

Monster croc shock | Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia |

Impressive, yes? Well actually, it's been manipulated. Here's a comparison of the version that appeared in the NT News [left] and the actual photo [right] (thanks to Brandon Sideleau for finding this).

I've got to hand it to them, it's quite a neat Photoshop job.

But that's not really the point of this post. What I'd like to draw attention to is just how remarkably dangerous these jumping crocodile cruises are becoming. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the principle of showing tourists wild crocodile behaviour when it's done safely and responsibly, especially considering that crocodiles need all the good publicity they can get. Indeed, some of the licensed cruises who've been doing this for years have strict rules about safety. But the above photo is a fine illustration of how not to do it right, and it's certainly not an isolated incident. I've seen what happens when crocs next to boats slam their jaws sideways into the railings or gunnels. All it takes is for someone to be leaning over the edge like this photographer is doing, or simply to be resting their hand or arm on the top of the railing, and if the croc decides not to play nice then a tourist who doesn't appreciate what these animals are capable of is going to lose more than their pride. If that happens then the Adelaide River's famous jumping crocodiles will very likely become a thing of the past.