Daintree caught on cam­era

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Daintree river is full of life, with lots of ju­ve­nile croc­o­diles, flocks of birds, schools of fish and even cu­ri­ous sharks.

When tele­vi­sion star and Aus­tralian Rep­tile Park op­er­a­tions man­ager Tim Faulkner came to the re­gion to do some film­ing he de­cided to check out croc­o­diles in a nat­u­ral habi­tat.

Co-founder of the NQ Croc­o­dile Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety Matt Cor­nish, who used to work with Mr Faulkner and re­mains friends, thought the Daintree River would be the per­fect lo­ca­tion, and said the re­sults were amaz­ing.

‘‘He was film­ing for his Chan­nel 9 pro­gram and we also wanted to go out croc-spot­ting to see how many croc­o­diles are in there and if there were any breed­ing pat­terns,’’ Mr Cor­nish said.

‘‘We found a lot of re­ally small croc­o­diles. We saw some that would have been seven to eight months-old, which was fan­tas­tic. They were feed­ing on lots of small fish and we ac­tu­ally saw a shark mov­ing around up­stream as well.

‘‘ Fish num­bers are ab­so­lutely pump­ing, which is a di­rect cor­re­la­tion to croc­o­diles, and to see the river like that was breath­tak­ing.’’

Al­though Mr Faulker is used to milk­ing deadly spiders and snakes, and wrestling salt­wa­ter croc­o­diles, Mr Cor­nish said he and his crew were im­pressed with see­ing na­ture at its wildest.

‘‘We had peo­ple on the film crew who don’t work with wildlife and were ab­so­lutely as­ton­ished and amazed at what they saw,’’ Mr Cor­nish said.

‘‘The Daintree is such a rich habi­tat and all the sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ships do re­volve around croc­o­diles as the key preda­tor keep­ing them in touch.

‘‘Film­ing on the Daintree pro­motes nat­u­ral Aus­tralia, to show peo­ple what the coun­try should be like. If we pre­serve our ecosys­tem the whole world will run bet­ter. The whole life­style re­volves around croc­o­diles up there.’’

On their cruise with the Daintree River Cruise Cen­tre, they also filmed a few fe­males up on the banks, pos­si­bly scratch­ing up nests, and dis­cussed the NQ Croc­o­dile Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety and the cur­rent croc­o­dile re­moval strat­egy.

The Wildlife of Tim Faulkner airs on Chan­nel 9 ev­ery Sun­day at noon and the Daintree episode is ex­pected to air in six to nine months’ time.

Pic­ture: IAN ‘SAUCE’ WORCES­TER

LAZ­ING AROUND:

9-month-old hatch­ling has a nap

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