Friday 2 October
Yesterday we visited Malcolm Douglas’s Wildlife Park. He has a crocodile park at Cable Beach and a bigger wildlife park 18 kilometres out of town. It was the wildlife park we visited
I’d forgotten how impressive a big crocodile was and Vicki had never been up close to a crocodile.
Adjacent to the park but not open to the public is his commercial crocodile farm. He turns out about a thousand skins a year. The young crocodile that Vicki is holding is destined to be made into a handbag in about 4 to 5 years.
There are two large lakes in which about sixty crocodiles live. These have been raised in this lake as a group and therefore put up with each other and do not have territorial disputes. These are the breeding stock.
They are fed, for the tourists, at 3PM each day and about 2:30 they start to congregate at the feeding area. It is impressive to see so many large crocodiles together. Some are in excess of 4 metres.
The park has a great range of Australian birds, reptiles and marsupials a lot of which are endangered and they are implementing breeding programs for these. Malcolm Douglas is of course well known for his documentaries and books and is a former crocodile shooter now turned conservationist and crocodile farmer.
For lunch we left the park and went a further 2 kilometres up the road to the Mango Farm. A lovely shaded rustic spots in which we had a mango and beef pie washed down with a mango juice slushy.
After lunch we went back to the park. I think we spent almost 5 hours there. The tour that we went on was really informative and showed you how dangerous crocodiles can be. There are twenty to thirty individual pens in which captured rogue crocodiles are kept. These cannot be introduced into the main lakes because of potential territorial disputes, they have such names as Maniac, Slugger, Phantom etc. Each pen contains a male and female and their eggs are also used in the breeding program. Some pens contain very aggressive animals that rush the wire if you venture too close, other animals are rarely seen. The photo is of Zoey a rather large and aggressive animal who rushed at Vicki when she approached his pen. The guide threw a float attached to a rope into a pond in which no crocodile was visible, the next moment the water erupted as a croc grabbed the float, when the guide pulled on the rope the croc went into a series of roles. You would not have stood a chance if you had been in the water. The guide also demonstrated how a croc can launch itself a distance of three quarters of its body length from the water to dry land. In other words stand well back from the waters edge in crocodile country, you may not see a crocodile but it will see you.
One rogue crocodile in the park had attached two horses near Fitzroy Crossing before it was captured.
I see in the fishing section of the local paper that one crocodile has been removed from Dampier Creek but two remain. Dampier Creek is the local hot spot for barramundi and mud crab fishing.
Footnote: Seth cannot understand why Vicki won’t go fishing or wading in Dampier Creek – even to catch Barra!!!