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Scania supports Australia Zoo crocodile research and monitoring in Far North Queensland

Scania is assisting Australia Zoo and Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors by supplying one of its New Truck Generation prime movers to transport vital equipment from Beerwah, in South East Queensland, to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York, Far North Queensland.

The Scania G 500 6x4 is powered by the latest 13-litre 6-cylinder engine from Scania and will pull two 20-ft containers 2500 km to the reserve.

Steve Irwin began crocodile research in the 1980s, and his capture and study techniques remain the world’s best to this day. Since 2008, an annual crocodile research trip has been conducted on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, located on the Wenlock River in Cape York.

Australia Zoo, in partnership with the University of Queensland (UQ) and Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, now manage the largest and the most successful crocodile research project in the world, utilising Steve Irwin’s techniques.

The experienced Australia Zoo team captures the crocodiles, while the UQ scientists carry out their research, take measurements, and attach trackers to the animals.

Every crocodile gets fitted with an acoustic tag, which sends information to the researchers’ receivers for up to 10 years. For larger crocodiles, a GPS tracker is also fitted to help better track the crocodiles’ movements, sending data for around one year.

These specialised tracking devices provide valuable information about the movements and behavioural patterns of adult estuarine crocodiles. Once the appropriate device has been fitted, the crocodile is released back into the river system where its activity is monitored eagerly.

Each year, a team of crocodile experts, scientists, conservationists, media and VIP guests join the Irwin family for the trip to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve on Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula.

Results of the research to date includes discoveries that crocodiles can spend more than seven hours underwater; details of their diet, and vital information on their movement patterns. All this information is used to aid in the conservation of these incredible apex predators. The researchers’ findings have contributed significantly to the knowledge base of crocodilians, with a large focus of the project also being to educate those that share the crocodile’s habitat.

The truck that Scania has provided to Australia Zoo is one of the original NTG evaluation vehicles, and was named ‘Trevor O’Brien’ in honour of one of Scania Australia’s longest serving employees.

“The Scania truck will be transporting two 20-ft shipping containers to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve,” said Terri Irwin, owner of Australia Zoo.

“These shipping containers are important as they will store and protect our boats and traps used for our annual crocodile research trip, from the wet season that FNQ faces each year.

“The truck will do a 5,500 km round trip to the Reserve and back and we are grateful to Scania Australia for its use. The money we would have used to rent a truck can now be used for further research into crocodiles and their conservation,” she said.

“Scania is very pleased to be able to provide Australia Zoo with one of our new prime movers to relocate their research team’s containers into FNQ,” said Richard Singer, Regional Executive Manager of Scania Queensland.

“Just like Australia Zoo is committed to research, Scania puts significant resources into its own research and development, designed to improve longevity and durability, just like the researchers in FNQ are studying how crocodiles function and flourish in local conditions,” he said.

“Scania is committed to sustainability across our operations, offering Euro 6 emission compliant vehicles and a wide range of alternative fuels, just as Australia Zoo is working to provide sustainability for our native flora and fauna.

“Scania trucks are as much at home in the hot and humid environment of the far reaches of Cape York as the native crocodiles, and have the Scania Communicator tracking systems fitted to monitor and analyse their every move. These give our customers a comprehensive performance review week-by-week, month-by-month and year-by-year,” Richard said.


Seen at the handover of the Scania G 500 at Australia Zoo in southern Queensland is Terri Irwin (owner Australia Zoo), Richard Singer (Regional Executive Manager, Scania Queensland), Michelle Ticehurst (Scania Queensland Executive Assistant), Alan McDonald (Scania Master Driver Trainer), David Oman (Australia Zoo) and John Scott (Scania Driver Trainer).

Pic credits: Ben Beaden / Australia Zoo