2 September 2014
Australia Zoo staff and the Irwin family have made it to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, jumping straight into croc research and onto some crocs!
Joined by Professor Craig Franklin and his team from the University of Queensland, Australia Zoo‘s croc research team have once again made the pilgrimage to the 333,000 acre conservation property in Far North Queensland.
Arriving last week and getting straight into the action, the team have already spotted a rare species of kangaroo, blue-winged kookaburras, dingoes, file snakes, blue tongued lizards and much more. They've set up traps, and have done some serious croc jumping with three new female crocs now being tracked in the Wenlock River - bringing the number of total crocs being tracked in the research program to 117.
Meanwhile, Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin took a detour on their way to the reserve - stopping off at a local school in Weipa. The Irwin family chatted to students about safety around crocodiles, educated them on what to do in the event of a snake bite, and Robert even showed them a real, live non-venomous Spotted Python from the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.
While it is primarily the croc research that brings the Australia Zoo and University of Queensland team up to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve each year, the region is also home to an array of other beautiful wildlife. Each year, the team discovers new species of animals on the reserve, as well as conducting studies with other animals including spear-tooth sharks, bats, and barramundi.
One of these animal discoveries is the rare Antilopine Kangaroo spotted by the team during their first few days on the reserve. It is believed he was attracted by the fresh shoots of grass in the area thanks to great fire management by ranger Barry Lyon and the indigenous rangers from Old Mapoon.
All 117 crocs caught on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve have tracking devices. Using data transmitted by satellite back to the laboratory and displayed on Google Earth - the croc research team continue to discover new information on their behaviour, position and physiology.
This year the team will target female crocodiles, as to date the program is currently tracking mostly males. Australia Zoo croc researchers hope to learn more about their breeding habits and nesting areas from the 2014 trip!
Australia Zoo has poured over $4 million dollars into crocodile research over the past 10 years. To find out how you can help, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (07) 5436 2000 today.
And don't forget to check out the croc team's daily updates and photographs posted here during the 2014 research trip: www.australiazoo.com.au/conservation/projects/crocodiles/