24 July 2015
The Irwin family, Australia Zoo and University of Queensland team are gearing up for the 2015 crocodile research trip, with preparations in full swing!
This team of highly experienced crocodile experts are this week joining forces and making their way to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, a pristine 335,000 acre conservation property on Queensland's Cape York Peninsula, where they'll spend the month of August studying crocodiles in the Wenlock River.
Australia Zoo, in partnership with the University of Queensland and Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, now manage the longest continuous study of crocodiles in the world, with 129 currently being tracked in the Wenlock River - a number that continues to expand each year.
Using the advanced ‘capture and study' technique invented by Steve Irwin himself when he first began studying crocodiles in 1996, Professor Craig Franklin and his team from the University of Queensland - along with Australia Zoo's croc experts - will make use of satellite tracking devices to determine new information about the species, ultimately helping to protect people and crocodilians around the world.
Research from previous trips has been vital in teaching us that crocs can spend more than three (and it is believed up to seven) hours underwater; we've unlocked secrets regarding their diet, crucial information on their movement patterns, and much more to aid in the conservation of these incredible apex predators.
In particular, 2014 marked an exciting new era as the Eskitis Institute, a drug discovery research centre at Griffith University, brought their important research to the Reserve - further expanding its use for life saving research.
As we continue to move forward with our research, 2015 will see us recapture crocodiles we've been following for the past 3-6 years to ascertain diet, examine environmental drivers for movement and behavioural patterns of crocodiles with a focus on temperature, and deploy satellite-dive transmitters to look at long-scale movements and diving behaviour.
We also aim to broaden the horizons this year by venturing into a larger multi-species study, which involves not only deploying acoustic tags in large estuarine crocodiles, but also other aquatic species in the Wenlock River. We aim to eventually track over 230 animals in the river, and this will allow us to monitor them for the next 7-10 years.
In a first for the trip, we've also opened the experience up to volunteers through our partnership with Australian Geographic Magazine.
Terri Irwin is thrilled to be continuing and progressing Steve's important research with crocodiles in Cape York.
"The work we're doing on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve will benefit both people and wildlife. When it comes to managing crocodiles, we are learning that it is actually more important to manage people. Learning how to keep people safe from crocodiles will ultimately protect visitors to croc territory as well as the crocodilians themselves," said Terri.
This year's trip is sure to be another success, but we rely on donations from individuals and corporations in order to keep this vital research project alive. Anyone interested in finding out more, sponsoring a croc or donating money or items from our Croc Trip Wish List should go to: http://www.australiazoo.com.au/conservation/projects/crocodiles/
And follow us on social media for regular updates on the 2015 croc trip!
0 Zoo Comments