Niels Jensen, a Danish tourist, decided it was a good idea to climb on top of a 1,435-pound crocodile while on vacation in Darwin, Australia. After feeding the massive reptile a wallaby carcass, Jensen, 22, got on top of the crocodile’s back while his friend filmed and egged him on.
Needless to say, the authorities at the wildlife park were not amused by the Dane’s antics, considering he could have been killed. The tourist. from Vinderslev, Denmark, who claims he is a wildlife management graduate, told the Caters News Agency that he was well aware that the croc was dangerous after seeing it grab the carcass.
“Even with a crocodile like this that (is) used to humans, is it a scary feeling sitting on something that could kill you in a fraction of a second,” he said. “I love being outdoors and seeing new species. When I got the chance to work with crocodiles I had to go.”
Nicknamed the Danish Crocodile Dundee by his friends, Jensen said he had never seen a crocodile before his trip to Australia. He often shares his encounters with wildlife on social media. “In my opinion, I am just doing what I like. But not many people understand why I’m doing it,” he said. “Most of them call me a little crazy for traveling Down Under to wrestle with crocodiles.”
Tracey Duldig, Director of Wildlife Operations for the Department of Tourism and Culture, said that tourists need to be more cautious when approaching saltwater crocodiles, the largest of all living reptiles. “Saltwater crocodiles are large and potentially dangerous animals and we encourage everyone to be croc-wise at all times,” she said. “The behavior shown in this video is dangerous and reckless and we do not support this type of interaction with crocodiles.”
Duldig added that saltwater crocodiles are a protected species and it is illegal to interfere with them. She warned that heavy penalties can apply to those who disturb the crocs. She also said that the Department of Tourism and Culture is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
According to the National Geographic, saltwater crocodiles are opportunistic predators that lurk beneath the surface near the edge of the water, patiently waiting for would-be prey to stop for a drink of water. Saltwater crocs, or "salties," as Australians refer to them, will feed on anything they can find, including water buffalo, monkeys, wild boar, and even sharks. They attack without warning, thrashing their powerful tails as they jump from the water, clasping their victim, dragging it back in the water, and holding it under until it drowns.
Although salties are not at risk for extinction, their hides are highly valued, therefore, illegal hunting, habitat loss, and lack of sympathy toward the species given its reputation as a man-eater, have continued to put pressure on the existing populations. Saltwater crocodiles are found in regions of eastern India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. They are known to be excellent swimmers and are often spotted far out at sea.