Daly River Sawfish Patrol and Rescue 2021

Project: Research

Project Details


The Largetooth Sawfish Pristis pristis is a culturally important species of serious conservation concern. A long-standing collaboration between the Malak Malak Rangers and Traditional Owners and CDU has driven measurable conservation benefits for this species. This has included the World’s first (and only, as far as is known) sawfish patrol and rescue program where floodplain waterholes are patrolled annually in the late dry season as floodwaters recede and waterholes dry up. Trapped sawfish are located, rescued, and transported to permanent water in the main channel of the Daly River. To date, over 60 sawfish have been rescued, which would otherwise have perished, a significant number for this Critically Endangered species.
It is anticipated that given the high rainfall and considerable flooding of the Daly River floodplain in the 2020/2021 wet season that there may be an abundance of trapped sawfish on the floodplain in late 2021. Without a patrol and rescue operation, these sawfish will die.
The anticipated rescue also provides an opportunity to assess survivorship post-release, to collect data on sawfish habitat, and employ an innovative research technique to assess the feasibility of developing a sawfish health index. Lastly, a decade of collaboration will be synthesised in a Ranger-led writing and communication camp with community outreach to report back to community and increase local awareness of sawfish conservation.
Effective start/end date9/09/2128/02/22


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