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RAAF flight for crocodile



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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1979 NO. 250/79

RAAF FLIGHT FOR CROCODILE

The RAAF is about to do its bit toward the

preservation of the estuarine crocodile, ' ’

An Air Force C130 Hercules transport next week

will fly a male crocodile from Darwin to Perth as a mate

for a lonely female of the species at the Perth Zoo.

The female, "Salty", estimated to be 20 years

of age, has been on her own at the zoo for 17 years. She

has now reached the age for breeding.

The board of the Perth Zoo recently accepted the

offer of a male from Mr and Mrs George Haritos, who have

had it as a pet at their home at Fanny Bay, Darwin.

The crocodile, named Henry, is about 20 years

old and is already more than three metres in length and weighs

about 100 kilograms.

The curator of the zoo, Mr Ray Fairfax, appealed

to the RAAF for assistance in flying the crocodile from

Darwin on a regular C130 freight run - and the RAAF accepted

in the interests of conservation.

So, "Salty's" potential husband will be flown in a

strongly-constructed crate to Perth on a three-day trip

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which will take him to Perth via RAAF bases Richmond, NSW ,

Edinburgh, SA , and Pearce, WA.

The C130 will leave Darwin on Monday, December 10,

and fly to Richmond, where the crocodile will be offloaded

to spend two nights in the security of a freight hangar. On

Wednesday, December 12, he will be loaded into another C130

for the trip to Pearce via Edinburgh. From Pearce-he will

be taken by road to Perth, 50 kilometres south of Pearce.

Mr Fairfax will care for the crocodile during the

flight.

He said today that the crate in which the crocodile

was to be carried would have a padded lining and a heavy

duty steel mesh top. The interior of the crate would be

kept moist to avoid overheating the reptile.

Mr Fairfax said that estuarine crocodiles (also

known as saltwater crocodiles) were "quite ferocious" and

lived for about 100 years. . ■ . '

"At 20 years of age they are only about half grown,"

he said. "When fully grown,they are six to seven metres in

length.

"We are hoping that 1980 will see the hatching of

baby crocodiles at the zoo - thanks to the RAAF."

Mr Fairfax added that it was inevitable that "Salty's"

mate would be re-named "Peppery".

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Further Inquiries: Mr Frank Doak 65 2999 (office hours)

88 1112 (after hours)