Moving crocs the problem
RESEARCHERS from the University of Queensland have snapped back at State Government plans to relocate ‘‘problem crocodiles’’.
Dr Hamish Campbell from the University’s School of Biological Sciences and colleagues from Australia Zoo have used satellite tagging to record the location of male and female adult crocodiles during the breeding and nesting season to get a better understanding of crocodile management and intervention.
Dr Campbell said social interactions are important to how crocodiles move and utilise new habitats.
‘‘It is necessary to consider crocodile i nteractions prior to the implementation of management interventions,’’ he said.
‘‘ Removing the large dominant male crocodile, ‘the boss croc’, will create a vacuum in the area that could be filled by another male which may be less wary of humans,’’ he said.
The study involved tagging adult males and females in the Wenlock River on the Cape York Peninsula, and collecting data twice daily to calculate the movement patterns of the crocodiles.
‘‘It appears that the boss crocs control productive areas that contain females, and force out subordinate males that can still be more than four metres in length,’’ Dr Campbell said.
‘‘These males roam over hundreds of kilometres in search of a mate, and are likely to be the crocodiles that turn up as problem animals.’’
Dr Campbell said the study strongly recommends the impact of crocodile removal on the social dynamics of the population be thoroughly evaluated.