Last year on Australia Zoo's annual Crocodile Research Trip, a saltwater croc measuring over 11 feet was fitted with a GPS satellite to track the animal's movements, diving depth and temperature.
Australian philanthropist Dick Smith who sponsored the research by funding the GPS satellite tracker affectionately named the croc OzEsauce. OzEsauce has astounded Professor Craig Franklin, whose team have been tracking crocodile movements at the University of Queensland.
'OzEsauce has now travelled over 1000 kilometres, leaving the Wenlock River and heading southwards along the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, visiting Weipa along the way. He currently resides in a small river system that appears to be fringed with swamps, possibly a good place to find a mate," he said.
Professor Craig Franklin from the University of Queensland recognises the significance of this research in protecting both crocodilians and people that frequent their habitat. Professor Franklin is concerned about the practise of setting up crocodile 'exclusion" zones by the Queensland Government, which he believes lack scientific credibility and could lead to a false sense of security for locals. OzEsauce's journey of over 1000 kilometres is hoped to assist in proving that excluding crocodiles from a certain area does not work.
OzEsauce is one of 129 individual saltwater crocodiles being tracked through the Wenlock River in Queensland's Cape York. The Irwin family continues Steve's research work by leading the Australia Zoo team on an annual research trip. This year's trip will take place throughout the month of August in the hope of increasing the number of individual animals that are being tracked.
Terri Irwin, Owner of Australia Zoo was surprised to see a crocodile travel over such a long distance.
'It is not unusual for crocs to travel large distances, but we were surprised to see that OzEsauce had travelled over 1000 kilometres over the wet season, a far greater distance than any of the other crocs in the program have travelled."