Australia Zoo and the Irwin Family Prepare for Crocodile Expedition
The Australia Zoo crew are perfecting their jump techniques ahead of another exciting year of crocodile research. In a longstanding partnership with The University of Queensland, the research project is the most extensive and comprehensive study ever carried out on the world's largest reptile.
The team of highly experienced crocodile experts will soon join forces and make 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.
The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve is just one of three conservation properties that Australia Zoo and the Irwin Family protect in order to safeguard our wildlife. Over 450,000 acres offers a stronghold to animals such as the endangered woma python, spotted cuscus and koalas. The river bordering the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve is also one of the only known habitats in which the critically endangered speartooth shark lives. Australia Zoo and The University of Queensland also study this extremely rare species.
Toby Millyard, team leader of Australia Zoo's crocodile research team has been involved with the research since 1997. Mr. Millyard will join the Irwin family in Cape York this August, along with other members of Steve's original croc research team to collect more data to add to current crocodile studies.
'Carrying out this research each year has given us a consistent insight into the secret lives of the saltwater crocodile. We've uncovered information about how far crocodiles can move, how deep they can dive and how long they can stay submerged on a single breath, a whopping seven hours!
'All of this information increases our understanding of their movements and behavior allowing us to better protect them," he said.
The aim of this year's research trip is to fit trackers onto additional crocodiles to further the scope of our knowledge using Steve's original capture techniques.
'We're so proud to be continuing Steve's legacy through this research which he was so passionate about," said Terri Irwin.
'By learning more from saltwater crocodiles, we're able to educate people about living alongside them safely which is our ultimate goal," she said.
Crocodile research in Cape York is just one of Australia Zoo's research and conservation programs with the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital having now treated over 62,000 native animals and assisting the University of the Sunshine Coast in developing the first ever koala chlamydia vaccine trial.
Australia Zoo also supports annual research into the gestation sites of the critically endangered grey nurse sharks living on Queensland's East Coast through the loan of -Croc One' to University of Queensland researchers.
Overall, the Irwin family, Australia Zoo, Wildlife Warriors contribute $3.1 million to conservation initiatives each year.
Those interested in more information or donating to support saltwater crocodile research and Australia Zoo's other conservation endeavours should visit wildlifewarriors.org.au