Crikey! NAQS Officers get 'Croc Wise'

AQIS20413FNQ
31 March 2004

Steve Irwin is not the only Quarantine celebrity to come into regular contact with man-eating saltwater crocodiles. 

Four Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS) officers and scientists are taking part in a Crocodile Awareness Training workshop from 9am – 1pm on Wednesday 31 March to learn about the habits of crocodiles and safe work practices in the field.

Dr Mark Read, researcher with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Crocodile Management Unit, will deliver the course.

Workshop topics will include species identification, crocodile habitat and distribution in Queensland, movement patterns of adult estuarine crocodiles, breeding biology and nesting behaviour, how to spot signs of crocodiles and what to do if approached by a crocodile. 

Dr Mark Read says, “The aim of the course is to make participants more familiar with how crocodiles live, where to find them and what they are capable of. I also aim to dispel the common misconceptions surrounding crocodiles so people have a more realistic appreciation of these animals.”

NAQS officers and scientists regularly visit remote areas of Cape York Peninsula and are frequently carrying out duties in croc country. 

Peter Pedersen, NAQS operations coordinator says, “This training will sharpen our awareness of the potential hazards crocodiles pose. Our officers are often in very remote areas of Cape York where there are high populations of crocodiles. When you spend as much time in these areas as we do, you can get a bit complacent – as they say, you can never catch too big a fish and you can never be too croc aware.”

QPWS have developed a Be Croc-Wise in Croc Country campaign with guidelines for people travelling in croc country. The guidelines can be viewed at the QPWS web site - www.epa.qld.gov.au.

The workshop will commence with a theory component at 9am at Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, followed by a practical component at the South Johnstone Crocodile Farm at 11am.

Media contact: MaryBeth Gundrum DAFF Media +61 2 6272 3232

Interviews: Peter Pedersen, NAQS Operations Coordinator and Dr Mark Read, QPWS researcher.

Visual event: 11am at the kiosk at the Cairns Crocodile Farm - Redbank Road, Gordonvale.