HB firm keeping tabs on crocodile
A 4.2 metre crocodile named Sputnik has been carrying a little piece of Havelock North on its back for the past ﬁve weeks.
Sputnik had his satellite tracking device designed by local company Sirtrack glued to his back so his movements could be monitored. The project is part of Massey University researcher Bindi Thomas’ master’s thesis, looking at the movement of crocodiles in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Minister Marian Scrymgour said it was hoped the study would give researchers an insight into the behaviour and movement of estuarine crocodiles, particularly problem crocodiles that move in Darwin Harbour.
Sirtrack sales and marketing manager Rowan Calder said this was just one of the many tracking devices they had exported throughout the world.
“We have had them on blue whales, elephants in Africa and they have been glued and wired on crocodiles.” he said.
The transmitters are also being used to ﬁnd wandering Alzheimer‘s patients and intellectually handicapped children. A 17-year old boy in Northland has been tracked since he was four and has saved thousands of dollars in police time, which would have been used searching for him.
Sirtrack provides tracking devices for over 450 species in over 70 different companies and is one of six companies worldwide to create similar devices. Clients include Australia’s TV crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin.
The company, which is a subsidiary of the Crown Research institution Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research Limited), has been growing since its ﬁrst foray into the commercial market in the 1980s with the creation and marketing of transmitters for kiwi, kakapo and goats.
The Havelock North based company employs more than 20 staff and has an annual turnover of $3 million. The company expects turnover to triple over the next ﬁve years.
The movement of Sputnik can be seen on [www].croctrack.org.nz [NB website address not valid 2016]
Photo caption – LEFT: Marketing Manager Rowan Calder with devices used to track crocodiles in Australia.