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Antarctic huskies for Adelaide zoo

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Minister for Science

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600. Telephone 733371


10 March 1977


The Minister for Science, Senator Webster, announced today that the polar vessel Ne11a Dan is expecte to arrive'in Melbourne from Antarctica on 11 March. The ship left Fremantle on 25 January to relieve the Australia Antarctic Station, Mawson, and to evacuate summer parties

from Enderby Land and Davis - also in Antarctica.

As well as her normal complement of returning ■ expedition members, the Ne11a Dan, is carrying.two husky dogs - a black four-year-old male called Nemaluk and a fawn 3i— year-old female called Nina.

Senator Webster said the two huskies were surplu to requirements in the Antarctic and, on arrival in Melbourne, they would be flown to Adelaide to form the fir exhibit of huskies in the Adelaide Zoo.

Huskies had from time to time been on display at the Melbourne Zoo where it was found that the tough and engaging animals were an attractive exhibit ..and acclimatized readily to the southern Australian climate.

Huskies were introduced into Antarctica by early explorers. They accompanied Roald Amundsen on the first" successful traverse to the South Pole and Sir Douglas Mawson, the Australian Antarctic pioneer, made good use of

them during his expeditions early this century.

" In the early 1950s, the establishment by the

Australian Government of permanent stations on the Antarctic continent marked the beginning of a period of expanding exploration involving many lengthy traverses. Although " today most of this traverse work is performed by mechanical over-snow vehicles, dog teams played a major role in the explorations of the 1950s and 1p60s due to their capacity for covering long distances under harsh conditions.

Nowadays huskies are only used by Australian expeditions for sledge journeys from Mawson over the sea ice for coastal biological studies. These journeys, however, sometimes involve traverses of up to 800 kilometres.

Directly descended from stock originating in Greenland and Canada, the Mawson pack is restricted, through selective ^breeding, to a population level which allows two ilrst—class working teams to be maintained. ■



Further information: Geoff Smith, Antarctic Division, Melbourne, . Telephone (03) 51 0271