Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dubai is planning the Middle East's first Crocodile Park

Dubai is planning the Middle East's first Crocodile Park

So Dubai is planning a Crocodile Park.....why am I not happy with the idea? It is the statement "He added that it would not only be an amusement park but also an educational destination." I can read all sorts of things into that. I am all for education but not amusement. I recall with horror watching a so called educational show Davao Crocodile Park Roadshow  in the Phillippines and an even worse one in Sri Racha Tiger Zoo in Thailand.

I have a particular affection for crocodilians. I am not against them being farmed for their leather nor of people eating them, though I don't care for the taste myself. What I am especially against is the abuse that these magnificent creatures face in the many collections they are held. Crocodiles are, of practically all captive animals, a minor maintenance species. Apart from food a little bit of enrichment they need very little attention. They certainly do not to be teased out of the water with bits of chicken or beef for the 'amusement' (there's that word again) of visitors. It is the way it is done that matters. There is definitely no room for Crocodile wrestling (or Alligators) in my book.

I have never visited the collections in France, Tunisia and Belgium that Dubai is consulting so I don't really know what the plans are but I would suggest they make a priority visit to the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust outside of Chennai in India. This is one of the finest collections I have visited anywhere. Genuine Conservation, Education and Research a credit to the best of the zoo world and carried out on a very limited budget.

Now I know that Steve Irwin has been bestowed sainthood by many but I am going to say it anyhow.... and there is no doubt he did a lot of good in zoo promotion, but he has a lot to answer for too. Many think the bravado way to manage crocodiles is the way it is done. It isn't. They are placid creatures which just want to get on with doing what crocodiles do best. Eating, basking, sleeping.

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