Those Australians concerned with conservation have welcomed the November 13 announcement that the Queensland Government will protect the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve (SIWR), in recognition of the it's outstanding natural values.
According to Barry and Shelley Lyon, managers of the Reserve, a 330,000-acre property in the Cape York Peninsula, the Newman government is to be applauded for their decision.
“The reserve is home to a vast diversity of endemic species and ecosystems.
We are overwhelmed that the unique bauxite springs, which feed the Wenlock River, will now be protected forever,” said Barry.
Members of the Wenlock River Catchment Group are pleased with the protection of approximately 65 kilometres of Wenlock River frontage contained in the reserve.
“The Wenlock is one of the healthiest, most beautiful rivers in the country.
At our recent meeting, all members were united about the protection of the river, and its catchment,” said Mapoon ranger coordinator, Jane Blackwood, a member of the group.
“This announcement is a strong start to the overall conservation of the river into the future,” she said.
Cape York NRM visited the reserve in September 2013 and found it buzzing with activity. Cape York researchers from many Australian universities are based at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve. Australia Zoo and the University of Queensland (UQ) research groups were wrapping up a six-week stint, undertaking their final days of a crocodile program that included trapping, tagging, releasing and behaviourial monitoring.
Indigenous rangers from across Cape York visited the reserve during the program, learning about crocodiles and sharing their knowledge with the Australia Zoo team.
UQ researcher, Dr Ross Dwyer, said that 20 crocs were captured in 2013 - six were fitted with satellite trackers and 12 with acoustic marine pingers. The trackers are integral to crocodile research, providing data on movements, feeding, mating and nesting.
The crocodile research is carried out in collaboration with the UQ School of Biological Sciences with Australia Zoo.
Tagged crocodiles can be followed at http://oztrack.org/projects/125/analysis