Early this morning we left Cape Tribulation and headed back to Cairns to finish up the last two days of the study abroad. Of course on the way we made a couple of stops.
The first stop we made today was the Daintree Discovery Center. Here we got to walk through the oldest rainforest in the world and look out for wildlife in their natural habitats — although we were all looking for the most deadly bird on the planet, the Cassowary (we had no luck). Many of us walked up 32 meters to view the top of the rainforest canopy!
The main stop of the day was Hartley’s Crocodile Farm. Although it was a crocodile farm they also had other enclosures with Koalas, Wallabies, deadly snakes, and more. But the newest thing that we haven’t seen up close and personal yet where the famous Australian Saltwater Crocodile (or “salties” as they say here). A few of us went on the farm tour where we got to listen to how the crocodiles are raised and the importance of crocodile farms.
How crocodiles farms began: After World War II many men were coming back to Australia and were jobless so many decided to purchase a gun and become crocodile hunters. There was no training necessary. With the high demand for crocodiles and the many new crocodile hunters the crocodile population was rapidly decreasing. This is when the government came in to save the crocodile population – but the demand for crocodiles were still high so they become popular on the black market. This is why crocodile farms were made — to meet the demand for crocodiles in the commercial world and to avoid a black market as well as to allow the small population left in the wild to build again. Hartley’s Crocodile focuses on high standard of living for the crocodiles they raise and to make sure that they are completely used including the skin, meat, bones and all.
About Crocodiles: Crocodiles don’t have sex chromosomes but instead their sex is determined by the temperature of their surroundings when developing in the egg. Male crocodiles grow faster and larger on average than female crocodiles. Crocodile farms keep the eggs in incubation at 34 degrees celsius because that is the prime temperature for producing male crocodiles. Any female crocodiles produced are used for breading purposes on the farm. Female crocodiles can lay on average about 50 eggs each breeding season (87 being the largest nest that Hartley’s Farm has ever had).
After talking about the reasons for crocodile farms and a little about the life of a crocodile, we got to take a boat tour and see the crocodiles up close and personal (and even watch them feed). Definitely a must see if you ever venture to this side of the World!
After returning back to our housing in Cairns many of us finished up homework and worked on our final projects, which we get to present tomorrow!
This month surely has gone by quick.
Thanks for reading, Abbey Brown.
P.S. Fun Fact: At the Daintree Discovery Center they have an innovative all-in-one toilet system that uses the same water twice! First for hand washing and then for flushing the toilet. How sustainable and cool is that!