The Calusa Herpetological Society
Of Southwest Florida
  

Thursday, January 2, 20147:00 pm

 

SPEAKER & TOPIC:  

Tonight's speaker is Colette Adams. The title of her presentation is "The Orinoco Crocodile Caper -- A Story of Tenacity and Teamwork". She is currently the General Curator and Grants Coordinator at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. She had a passion for reptiles long before the 1976 commencement of her zoo career, when she began working in the Reptile Department as a keeper. Though her titles have changed and administrative duties have increased over the years, she remains the primary caretaker of several groups of crocodiles at her zoo.
 
Colette is a member of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group and the Philippine Crocodile National Recovery Team. She is also an avid fundraiser for various species of endangered crocodiles.  

In May of 2011, when Karel Fortyn passed away unexpectedly, he left behind hundreds of reptiles at the Seaway Serpentarium in  Welland, Ontario. As his brother, friends, colleagues, ex-girlfriend, attorneys and the local animal control authority struggled, then haggled, over what needed to be done with the animals in his collection, it became apparent that the destiny of Blade and Suede, two enormous Orinoco crocodiles, would be the biggest issue of all. 

 
Smuggled into Canada in 1987 as hatchlings, and now reported to be 1,500 and 1,100 pounds, Blade and Suede were Karel's pride and joy. However, they had long since outgrown their failing indoor enclosure of concrete and bulletproof glass. Many months passed, a freezing winter approached, and the struggle over their destiny continued. These genetically precious animals faced potential power outages, getting their heads caught underwater in rusted fencing, and the possibility that one would kill the other if their partition failed. The city vowed the house they had lived in for over a decade would be demolished, while wildlife authorities on both sides of the US/Canada border dealt with the reality that there was no Canadian facility that could adequately care for them.
 
Enter the staff from the Gladys Porter Zoo, a colorful mixture of unsinkable Texas folks, who believed that "impossible" meant "fun."  Add two Florida-based crocodile experts and a team of enthusiastic crocodile men from Canada, and you have yourself an adventure!
 
This is a story of a 4,000 mile road trip and how two beautiful Orinoco crocodiles came to see sunlight in South Texas for the first time . . .  even though wildlife authorities had once predicted it would never happen.

 See you there!

WHO'S INVITED ? You are! Anyone with an interest in any aspect of herpetology or herpetoculture is welcome to attend, learn, and exchange their experiences with our friendly membership. Come out to meet others who keep, breed or study reptiles and amphibians, and let them share their fascination with you. We average 20 35 people attending every meeting.

Cookies and cold soda, a nightly raffle of live herps, herp products, and books follow each speaker's talk, and lots of herp camaraderie, gossip, and fun can be counted upon at all meetings !

For more info , call (239) 728-2390 or (239) 481-3525 or  EMAIL: info@calusaherp.org   


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