The photo showing two men
The photo showing two men "riding" a turtle on Fraser Island was shared by a wildlife photographer on Facebook. Facebook

Turtle 'surfers' could be fined up to $20k each

LATEST: The men photographed standing on a turtle on Fraser Island could face fines of up to $20,000 if found to be interfering with a natural resource, according to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

A spokesperson from the QPWS said rangers were investigating the incident.

"There is some evidence to suggest that this turtle was deceased at the time of the photo," the spokesperson said.

"QPWS are taking this matter seriously and investigating further."

RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Michael Beatty has slammed the actions of the two men as "complete idiots".

Mr Beatty said the RSPCA would look into the incident if there was any information that the turtle was harmed, and said Biosecurity Queensland could also launch investigations under the Nature Conservation Act.

"These guys are just complete idiots - there's no way they should be doing what they were doing," he said.

"Per usual, they've been idiots and posted it on Facebook...(and) hopefully people on Facebook will let them know what idiots they were."

While Mr Beatty said it was not illegal to approach turtles, the actions of the two men could have seriously harmed the animal.

"I hope they get their comeuppance on social media," he said.

 

EARLIER: A PICTURE showing two men crouched on the back of a turtle on a Fraser Island beach has drawn a furious reaction after it was posted on Facebook. 

The picture, originally posted by Gold Coast man Ricky Rogers on Tuesday, was shared by a wildlife photographer who thought the thought process behind the photograph was "ridiculous". 

"Surfed a tortoise on zee weekend.. gnarly duddddeeeee (sic)," the post with the picture read. 

More than 700 people have called the actions "cruel", "sickening" and "unacceptable", and the post shared more than 2400 times.

"Are people really that stupid," Nathan Douglas wrote on the post.

"This is appalling. Omg. So upset," Jeanie Nash also wrote.

Some commenters who defended the picture, saying it appeared clear the animal was already dead, were rebuffed by others who said it was a disrespectful action even if the turtle was dead.

"Dead or not it's still wrong and inhuman, like do we think it's acceptable to stand on the back of a dead human being? No.. So it's not alright to stand on the back of a dead animal," Simone Sheriff commented on the post. 

The wildlife photographer who shared the photo on his own Facebook wall has asked not to be named but hoped the men pictured would attract attention from the authorities.

"There's a big possibility that it (the turtle) is deceased but alive or dead they are a protected species and I believe there is a phone number people call to advise authorities of for deceased specimens as they collect to autopsy them to work out why they died etc," he said.

"If it was alive, they get stranded on low tide all the time and sit there waiting for it to come back in.

"Either way, it was a ridiculous thing to do."

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has confirmed the it was investigating a complaint made in relation to the incident.



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