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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Crocodylus Park
Cleaner Production - Waste Management within a Wildlife Conservation and Research Park

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Crocodylus Park logo

Wildlife Management International (WMI) Pty Limited, which owns and operates Crocodylus Park has implemented a comprehensive waste minimisation programme which has proven to be a successful cleaner production initiative. WMI has ensured the success of its initiative by fully integrating the waste minimisation program into its management planning processes. As a consequence, the waste minimisation programme is given full consideration during budget reviews, marketing forecasts and work schedules.

Saltwater crocodile

The cleaner production initiative adopted by WMI for Crocodylus Park has involved simple modifications to their housekeeping and work practices. These changes have resulted in a significant reduction in the volume of generated waste for final disposal. Waste reduction has occurred in the areas of solid waste, liquid waste, water management and energy management. As a consequence of applying waste minimisation strategies to its work practices, WMI has achieved significant benefits in the form of a 'cleaner environment', reduced operating costs and social benefits for the community.

Background

Wildlife Management International (WMI) Pty Limited is a private organisation, which provides research management and educational services, and manages Crocodylus Park in Darwin. Based in Darwin, WMI is on the gateway to Asia and has close links within the region. Their mission statement is:

"The mission of WMI is to provide high quality research, management and educational services that promote and integrate wildlife conservation with the diverse needs and values of people."

Besides interests in specific taxa of fauna and flora, WMI has particular interests in endangered ecological communities and key threatening processes. In addition, the following issues are of interest to WMI:


Directions to Crocodylus Park

The Process

WMI has identified the need to operate and manage Crocodylus Park by utilising the most efficient and effective work practices and procedures so as to ensure its viability. The traditional activities of Crocodylus Park, tourism, wildlife management and research generate a sizeable volume of waste. This waste consists pre-dominantly of solid waste, liquid waste and organic agricultural waste. Both the composition and generation rate of the total waste stream varies significantly from day to day and from the dry season to the wet season.

Prior to the adoption of the cleaner production initiative, WMI did not practice any form waste management such as recycling or waste minimisation. The generated co-mingled waste was collected and disposed of off site, thus producing a problem in another environment. As a direct consequence of this waste management problem, the facility's operating costs were high. These costs were due to an expensive collection and disposal service that in turn significantly impacted upon the overall profitability of Crocodylus Park.

Given the competitive nature of wildlife conservation parks within the Northern Territory, it was essential for WMI to reduce the operating costs of Crocodylus Park so as to ensure its viability. As a consequence, WMI recognised that the management of Crocodylus Park could be greatly improved both environmentally and economically through the prevention, reduction and minimisation of waste. This wastage included not only solid and liquid waste but also unnecessary energy and water consumption.
 

Tourists at the park

Cleaner Production Initiative

The waste minimisation process that WMI incorporated into the operation of Crocodylus Park as their cleaner production initiative is an extensive and long-term waste minimisation strategy. The strategy was formulated during 1997/1998, after a comprehensive audit of the premises and procedures undertaken at Crocodylus Park. As a consequence of the audit, WMI have achieved a significant reduction in waste volumes by implementing simple changes to their work practices and procedures. They have achieved this primarily by separating the waste materials at the source of generation thereby allowing for reuse and/or individual treatment of the unmixed fractions. Table 1 summarizes the cleaner production practices that have been adopted. These practices are subject to a continual review process so as to ensure the implementation of the most effective strategy for WMI's operations within Crocodylus Park.

Cleaner Production Initiatives
Table 1


WASTE COMPONENT CLEANER PRODUCTION PRACTICE
Solid Waste
  • Excess garden waste is removed to Shoal Bay Recycling for recycling locally as domestic garden mulch.
  • Aluminum can, glass and plastic bottles are removed by Trail-away Services to Shoal Bay Recycling for recycling locally and in Adelaide.
Liquid Waste
  • Liquid waste, including chemicals, paints, and oils are removed on an 'as required' basis by Trail-away services to Shoal Bay Recycling Centre.
  • There is no oil changing of vehicles on site.
  • Waste water run-off from animal pens and enclosures is drained into natural filtration ponds as a form of ecological filtration; the excess protein from food scraps and excreta results in natural algae blooms which deny the survival of mosquito larvae.
  • There is no wastewater run-off into storm-water drains.
Water Management
  • The crocodile holding ponds (Bellairs Lagoon and Attack Lagoon), and all raising and holding pens were constructed with concrete linings to prevent Seepage of water through the substrate into the water table.
  • The collection of rainwater run-off into a dam reduces the Park's reliance on the domestic supply.
  • The use of bore water in the raising pens has significantly reduced the Park's reliance on the domestic water supply.
  • Water for the crocodiles is recycled, contained and chlorinated for re-use.
  • Wastewater from the crocodile pens with a high nutrient load due to the excretion of nitrogen and phosphorous by the crocodiles is used for reticulation within the gardens. This helps to avoid the eutrophication of local water ponds and waterways.
  • There is a policy that places seasonal limitations on non-essential water use.
  • The collection of excess wastewater run-off into filtration ponds and its use in reticulation prevents any potential adverse effects within Holmes Jungle Nature Reserve.
  • Microbiological monitoring is conducted to monitor faecal coliform levels.
Waste Minimisation
  • Use of polystyrene cups has been minimised by use of washable glass and porcelain cups and mugs.
  • The drink machine has been withdrawn, reducing paper cup waste, in favour of drinks sold in containers which can be collected for recycling.
  • Aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles are collected for recycling in 2 bins located in the kiosk area and at the drink stand near the primate enclosures.
  • Clean paper waste is collected in the kiosk and offices for recycling as notepaper and for printing of draft documents.
  • There is an active recycling (re-use) policy in the offices, and such everyday items as folders are repeatedly reused, extending their life and reducing waste.
  • Subscriptions to scientific journals, magazines and newsletters have been rationalised so that only one of each is received in the office, circulated to the appropriate staff, and then held in the library for future reference.
  • Telephone books are collected for recycling.
  • Cardboard boxes from the kiosk are collected by staff for storing products. Cardboard boxes and packaging from the kiosk are collected by staff for use in weed control and mulching in domestic gardens.
Purchasing Policy
  • The toilet paper used in the Park and offices is unbleached paper, made from plantation timber.
  • Bags made from recycled paper are now obtained for packaging food and products sold in the kiosk, instead of the white glossy bags previously used.
  • Much of the animal food purchased for the monkeys and birds is not saleable for human consumption.
Power Management
  • Power checks have been conducted regularly to assess excessive usage of power and to identify potential areas for reduction of power usage.
  • A corporate structure has been implemented with functional heads responsible for managing and reducing power usage within their respective branches.
  • Attempts are made to use energy more efficiently - turning off lights when not in use, minimizing unnecessary use of air conditioners etc.
  • Opening and closing procedures at the park incorporate a progressive turning on/off of lights and air-conditioners as required, minimising excessive use.
Garden Management
  • Palm fronds and other vegetation waste including lawn cuttings, are collected for recycling in the Park's gardens.
  • Extensive use has been made in the Park's gardens of mulching hay for weed control and enhancement of water retention in the soil.
  • Selective use of sprinklers and drippers has made in the Park's gardens to avoid water wastage
  • Development of the grounds has incorporated 'green belts' for example, behind and around the office complex, and around the park grounds.
  • Approximately 70% of the total land area has been retained as virgin open Eucalyptus woodland, minimising water consumption in these areas and Maximising retention of local bird and other wildlife species.
  • Within the total land area, trees have been retained along the banks of the creek lines to avoid erosion.
  • Throughout the Park and surrounding grounds, an active weed eradication Campaign has been conducted to remove introduced pest species such as Coffee-bush.
  • The garden compromises of largely native species. An integrated pest management approach has been taken, incorporating minimisation of weeds, use of algae in the filtration ponds to reduce the viability of mosquito larvae, and controlled use of selective insecticides.
Broader Resource Strategies
  • Non-fossil fuel sources of energy have been sourced and used, including: Photovoltaic Cells (polar panels) have been used for providing heating in the hatchery tanks.
  • Photovoltaic cells are being installed to provide heating in some raising pens.
  • Bore water is used in the raising pens, which because of its appropriate temperature has significantly reduced the reliance on electrical hot water heaters.
  • Wherever possible (where there is no regulatory requirement and with due regard to safety and reliability) second-hand materials (wire, steel, posts etc) are used as a broad based means of recycling.
  • The freezer motor was reconditioned and reconfigured to improve its energy efficiency and to eliminate the use of CFCs.
Training Strategies
  • WMI has a policy of providing training services, which promote conservation. An example of the training provided, is a programme established with Green Corps (Young Australians for the Environment) where volunteers work at Crocodylus Park for a period of time (planting palms and trees, assisting with animal feeds and maintenance, and basic data collection) but also receive formal instructions during this time (in a ration of approximately 70% practical and 30% theory.

Advantages of Process

The simple modifications to work practices and procedures implemented by WMI has resulted in many significant economic and environmental benefits. The direct benefits of adopting the cleaner production practices within Crocodylus Park include:

1. Economic Benefits 2. Environmental Benefits

WMI recognised that it could decrease its operating costs by reducing the need for waste disposal measures. They have ensured that the waste minimisation programme is commercially realistic and viable and have incorporated it into their long-term management plan. WMI was reluctant to put a total dollar figure on the direct cost savings that they achieved by adopting their cleaner production initiative given their privacy policy and the competitive nature of wildlife conservation parks in the Northern Territory. As a consequence Table 2 provides a summary of the savings made in percentage value only by Crocodylus Park through their cleaner production practices.

 

Operation reduction in Annual Expenditure
Economic Advantages (%)
Table 2


SAVINGS PRACTICES % p.a. (within this category of operation)
Waste Disposal Free removal of recyclables, and reduction in solid wastes through purchasing policy, recycling policy and on-site disposal 15%
Water Management Installation of a dam, seasonal restrictions on water use, and use of mulch to enhance water retention. 85%
Purchasing Policy Implementation of more effective purchasing policy 10%
Power Management Implementing power usage minimisation strategies 25%
Broader Management Strategies Use of recycled materials and facilitating volunteer placement programmes 5%
NET BENEFIT (within the above categories   40%

Cleaner Production Incentive

The main incentive for WMI to adopt cleaner production practices was their ongoing corporate commitment to environmental management. They saw cleaner production as a method to improve resource management, minimise environmental impact and decrease waste generation within their education and research facility.

Barriers

No barriers were encountered in implementing this cleaner production initiative. In the management of Crocodylus Park, WMI is committed to a program of waste minimisation and practical environmental management.

Saltwater crocodile

Further Developments

The initiatives documented in Table 1 above were implemented during 1997 and 1998 and as at 2001 have been maintained with ongoing benefits to the company, especially in the areas of water and energy conservation/savings. New initiatives are introduced as new animal displays and visitor amenities expand. One such example is the addition of native fish to ponds to assist in the control of excess protein and mosquitoes. Notably, the fish were collected from a waterhole that dries out in the dry season killing all the fish within it.

Contact

Chief Scientist
Wildlife Management International Pty Ltd
PO Box 530
SANDERSON  NT  0812
Ph: 08 8922 4500
Fax: 08 8947 0678
Email: cmanolis@wmi.com.au
Web site: http://wmi.com.au/crocpark

Casestudy implementation: 1998
Further initiatives: 2000
Casestudy initially prepared: 1999 by the Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Environment Management Institute Association of Australia (EMIAA)

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Last modified: May 2001