14 September 2012
It's been a busy few weeks catching and tagging saltwater crocodiles on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve. This week, researchers from Australia Zoo and The University of Queensland concluded the trip on a high, reaching their target of 100 crocodiles, a goal which has been in place since the project began in 2007.
The 100th crocodile was affectionately named ‘Wenlock' in honour of its stunning home, the Wenlock River. The six foot four and a half inch reptile will be tracked and offer incredible insight in to the species, particularly with regards to managing the co-existence of crocodiles and humans.
Terri Irwin, is thrilled with the result. "I am so proud to share this milestone for research with our crocodile capture team. They have successfully implemented Steve's trapping techniques to safely catch and tag 100 crocodiles in the Wenlock River. Australia Zoo continues to invest the time and money necessary to enable the most comprehensive crocodile research conducted in the world. The information we learn from these 100 crocodiles will help us to protect crocs, and people, in to the future."
Professor Craig Franklin, from The University of Queensland, echoed Terri's thoughts. "Studies of this magnitude are showing us so much we didn't know about these iconic animals, and to help us to understand how we need to manage them in the wild. I can only think of how excited Steve would have been to witness this milestone, something we did not expect to achieve," said Prof Franklin.
Another highlight in the final week included catching and tagging a massive fifteen foot and five inch estuarine crocodile named Juergen, after a German cameraman visiting the reserve. "Juergen is the largest crocodile we have ever caught on the Wenlock River," said Terri.
Currently under threat of strip mining, more than 400,000 Australians and Wildlife Warriors from around the world have signed a petition to save the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, also known as 'Steve's Place'! The 335,000 acre reserve, in Queensland's Cape York Peninsula, is home to a set of at least 8 important spring fed wetlands which provide a critical water source to threatened habitat, provide permanent water to the Wenlock River, and a home for rare, vulnerable and previously un-described plants and wildlife.
"We are very optimistic about the future of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve as we have over 400,000 petition signatures from people wanting to see this land remain unspoiled. We are more than half way to matching the most petition signatures ever collected in a state of Australia!" concluded Terri.
Find out more
- You can sign the petition by visiting savestevesplace.com
- Find out more about Australia Zoo and the University of Queensland's crocodile research at australiazoo.com.au/conservation/projects/crocodiles
- Check out our ripper 2012 crocodile research Facebook gallery
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