Primate Research – Crocodylus Park
A new initiative at Crocodylus Park, Darwin is research into the behaviour of various primates and monkeys and observing their similarities to humans. For example the Colombian Cotton-top Tamarin is one of the only primates that suffers from spontaneous bowel cancer like humans. It is a big turn around from crocodiles but Dr Grahame Webb, zoologist, says that primates are a bit more interesting, “these things at least move”.
The main goal of this Crocodylus Park project is to bring Australia up to speed with the rest of the world where primate conservation management is a really big issue. Australia at this stage doesn’t contribute anything on a world scale to primate research. Dr Grahame Webb would like to link up with the university so that the monkeys and other primates can be on display for the public to visit the foreign animals as well as getting students from the university involved in the research and build up their expertise. An example of private enterprise combining with university student researchers, getting the best people to solve the most complex problems.
The range of primates being bred and reared at Crocodylus Park come from South American and Central American rainforest areas and include; Cotton-top Tamarins (Saguinus oedipus), Black-handed Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), Common Marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) and Black-capped Capuchin (Cebus apella). Also bred are the Crab-eating Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) which are widely distributed throughout South-east Asia. The animals breed well in captivity and interact well with the humans studying their behaviour.
Crocodylus Park, at the end of McMillans Road, Darwin (five minutes from Darwin Airport) is open daily from 9am to 5pm. There are three tours a day, 10am, 12noon and 2pm and cover the whole park including the crocodile breeding pens, emus, primates and turtles. There is also a Crocodile Museum and Education Centre. Entry to the park costs $15 for adults, $12 for pensioners, $7.50 for children under 16 years and children under 4 years are free. For more information phone: (08) 8947 2510, fax: (08) 8947 2497 or write to Crocodylus Park, PO Box 530, Sanderson, NT, 0812. The Crocodylus Park web site is http://wmi.com.au/crocpark