Crocs smarter than we think


Crocodiles are faster, smarter and harder to keep away fom humans than we thought, a new study has found.
Research in far north Queensland has confirmed that relocating rogue estuarine crocs does not work.
The preliminary findings, gathered from nine satellite transmitters fitted to crocodiles, have shattered previous beliefs.
Queenslands Parks and Wildlife Service's Dr. Mark Read said a 4,4 m male that had been shifted from one side of Cape York to the other returned to within 100 m of its original location.
"When they decide to come they do so very quickly", he said.
"The one that we moved across the Cape - we put a major geographical barrier for it to go around - travelled 450 km in 20 days."
The study is a collaboration between the QPWS, Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo, and University of Queensland researchers.

The study found :
A 3,1 male that left its capture area at Weipa and swam more than 350 km down the west coast of the Cape, spent more than a month in another river system before returning to the original location.
Another croc swam more than 900 km after leaving its capture location.

Unjversity of Western Sidney scientist Shelly Burgin said the findings would preset huge and costly implications for managing the endangered animals.
"It means shifting rogue crocodiles - and I hate that term - may well be a waste of time," he said.
"They're protected, you can't kill them and te croc farms don't want a lot of males. Basically you have to cage them."
Dr. Read is pushing for a new direction in crocodile management.

Damien Stannard
The Sunday Mail
17 July 2005