Kimberley crocs to Clare­mont

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THE Mal­colm Dou­glas Croc­o­dile Park in Broome was a pioneer in har­vest­ing croc­o­dile skins when it se­cured a con­tract with fash­ion brand Her­mes 15 years ago.

“We were the first peo­ple to put 1.5m-2m croc­o­diles in sin­gle pens,” park owner Valerie Dou­glas (74) said. “It was un­heard of at that time. “It means they all have ‘first grade’ skins.”

Mrs Dou­glas, the wife of the late Mal­colm Dou­glas who died in 2010, said they ini­tially had 1000 sin­gle pens on the farm but now had 500.

“They stay in the sin­gle pens for a year but some might be ready be­fore that,” she said.

Her­mes uses the skins to make prod­ucts like jack­ets and bags.

The park has more than 3000 croc­o­diles of the five main species on site but the salt­wa­ter is Mrs Dou­glas’ favourite.

“They are an an­i­mal with at­ti­tude,” Aus­tralian’s only fe­male croc­o­dile farmer said.

“I like Ma­niac (5m), he never stops at­tack­ing no mat­ter how much food you throw at him.”

The Dou­glas’ started the park in 1980, opened it to the pub­lic in 1983 and started farm­ing the an­i­mals at the end of that decade.

About 600 croc­o­diles, mostly males, are born at the park each year. Two baby croc­o­diles will make their way from the farm to the Perth Royal Show at the Clare­mont Show­ground from Septem­ber 27-Oc­to­ber 4 to be part of guest town Broome’s dis­play.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d425888

Chris Baker feeds the croc­o­diles at Mal­colm Dou­glas Wilder­ness Park.

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