It's that crocodile research trip time of year again! A motley crew of researchers from Australia Zoo and the University of Queensland have trekked up to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve on the Wenlock River, where over the next few weeks they'll capture, tag and track crocodiles and monitor their behaviour, position and physiology. This research provides invaluable insight into uncovering the distances crocodiles move, their ability to return to their habitat after relocation, their behaviour during flood events and findings critical to managing the co-existence of crocodiles and people.
Last year's trip ended on a high with the team reaching their target of 102 crocs tagged and tracked - a goal which has been in place since the project began in 2007, including the catching and tagging of a massive 15ft, five inch estuarine crocodile - the largest ever caught on the reserve!
The 135,000 hectares of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve stretches across the remote Cape York landscape in a mosaic of tropical savannah woodlands, rainforests, rivers, creeks and wetlands like a big, irregular patchwork quilt. Thirty five different Ecosystem types have been confirmed on the Reserve to date, clearly representing the outstanding biodiversity that should be afforded ongoing protection.
They are all crucial parts of the bigger "jigsaw puzzle" across the Wenlock and Ducie River catchments, providing critical habitat and corridors for a wide range of dependant wildlife and plants (over 154 native bird, 43 reptile, 18 amphibian, 15 mammal, and 43 freshwater fish species have been recorded on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve - 264 vertebrate species in total!).
The Save Steve's Place petition currently has over 435,000 signatures, the most in Queensland and more than halfway to matching the most petition signatures ever collected in Australia.