16 Sep 2016

The Kiwi croc doc: Craig Franklin

From Nine To Noon, 10:10 am on 16 September 2016

Professor Craig Franklin has been studying crocodiles in Australia's far north Cape York peninsular for 14 years.

And it has been more than just theoretical study: he's been up close and personal, conducting the largest and longest crocodile tracking programme ever undertaken.

Animals are trapped in cages, and fitted with satellite and acoustic transmitters in order to find out how far they roam, how deep they dive, how long they stay underwater, and how they're adapting to climate change.

Craig was born in New Zealand, but has been in Queensland for many years, where he is now Professor of Zoology at the University of Queensland, as well as director of research for the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.

He was a close friend and research partner of the famous Australian wildlife expert and conservationist, who died ten years ago, and whose wife and children are still involved with his research.

In the field and the lab Craig investigates the way animals adapt, physiologically and behaviourally, to endure in severe and changing conditions.

He's studied the case of the desert frog that can survive for years living in a fleshy cocoon under sand.

He has captured saltwater crocodiles with Irwin, to find out how they live and where they travel and has researched how Antarctic fish survive under the ice in sub-zero temperatures.