Female crocodiles are the ones that make the nests out of sand, mud, and weeds. Nests are built on the water's edge and are really just shallow holes. These nests are only a few inches high. There are about twenty to ninety eggs in a nest, but most never hatch due to predators who eat the eggs.
An Aboriginal corporation based at Maningrida, Arnhem Land, is harvesting crocodile eggs as part of a sustainable but slightly dangerous enterprise that utilises wildlife.
The Baramunga Corporation was selling the eggs to crocodile farms, but now it is proving more profitable to incubate the eggs and sell the hatchlings.
The Northern Land Council says it is worth tens of thousands of dollars to the community, making the dangerous element of the job worthwhile.
Croc eggs are really different to birds eggs because the yolk inside is not suspended by two little tendons so the yolk settles to bottom of the egg and the embryo sits on the top of the egg. If the egg is rotated from the point to where it has been laid you run a really high risk of actually killing it so when you excavate you don't want to under excavate and get it to roll out of position.
Placing a pencil mark on top of the egg and removing it in exactly the same position to which it's been laid to take to the incubator is imperative for its survival.
Most Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are legally allowed to hunt dugongs in Australian waters. To them the dugong is often more than just an important food source; it is central to their culture, economy and even religion. Hunting it is an expression of their Aboriginality - tangible evidence of their skill, knowledge and oneness with the elements of their environment.
Legend has it Dugongs were often mistaken for mermaids or mermen by the first European sailors to arrive in Australia's coastal waters.
Hunting the dugong is still done the traditional way by the Yanyuwa people of the Borroloola region in the Gulf of Carpentaria; always two harpoons have to be thrown.
The majority of dugongs live in the northern waters of Australia between Shark Bay Western Australia and Moreton Bay in Queensland. The dugong is the only strictly-marine herbivorous mammal, as all species of manatee utilize fresh water to some degree.
The dugong has been hunted for thousands of years for its meat and oil, although dugong hunting also has great cultural significance throughout its range. The dugong's current distribution is reduced and disjunct, and many populations are close to extinction.
When a dugong is brought back to the land for butchering, its head
must be faced back in the direction of the sea. This is so the
spirit of the dugong can return to the sea.
The only internal organ of the dugong which is eaten is the small
intestines all other organs are removed.
Dugong meat is cooked in a ground oven. 'The ground oven
is approximately 1 metre deep, 1 to 2 metres in width and 2
metres in length. The ground oven is filled with wood which is
set alight. While the‘wood is burning, the stones are thrown into the
fire to get hot.
When the wood has burnt down to hot coals the heated stones are
removed . Green mangrove branches are laid on the bed of leaves
and the hot stones placed on top of the meat., The oven is then
covered with dirt to seal in the heat. The meat is left to cook
for approx 8 hours.
After the meat has been eaten, all the scraps and bones are
thrown back into the ground oven and burnt. The belief is that
failure to dispose of the bones correctly will result in a
cessation of successful hunting. The rib-cage sections, head,
and flippers of the dugong, are considered sacred. These are the sections
which are placed into the ground oven.