Students Take Part in 'Survivor Style' Crocodile Naming Ceremony at Sydney Zoo

In a nod to the reality TV show, a “Survivor-style” voting ceremony took place at the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo to decide the names of three new freshwater crocodiles.

The crocodilian keepers were joined by special guests from Redfern Jarjum College, as well as Michael West of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, to choose from a shortlist of indigenous-inspired names.

After the crocodiles’ potential names were explained to the students, they took turns to approach the camera and explain the rationale behind their vote.

Jannali, meaning “the place of the moon” or “beautiful moon rising”, was the unanimous favorite from the students, who have a peer of the same name. The name was given to to the smallest female croc.

The second female was named Merindah, meaning “beautiful", and the male was named Killara, meaning “permanent” or “always there".

“Freshwater crocodiles are fascinating, and it was wonderful to have some special guests join us today to learn about them, to see these incredible apex predators in action and to help us give them names," keeper Lily Williams said. Credit: Charli Beale/WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo via Storyful

Video transcript

- So I've got some special friends with me here today from Redfern Jarjum College. And they actually going to help us in naming our three freshwater crocodiles just behind us here.

- We wish to acknowledge the custodians of this land, the Gadigal people and Eora nation. We pay our respects to the elders past, present, and future. We trust [INAUDIBLE] members of our community.

- So as well as my friends here, we have a special guest Uncle Mark from the metropolitan local Aboriginal land council. And they're going to help us with our shortlisted choice of names. And then we're going to have a little vote and see what we think.

- So we have Walmajarri language from WA, origin of the freshwater crocodiles. So they've got [WALMAJARRI] which means "permanent water." Then we have [WALMAJARRI], "seasonal water." Then we have [WALMAJARRI], which is "precious flower."

Another option for all three is the language chosen from the places in Sydney, Jannali. Yes, I understand that some of the people here, their siblings is named Jannali, the place of the moon, or "beautiful moon rising." Then we have [JANNALI], which is "permanent" or "always there."

Then we have Merindah, which is "beautiful." That's the second option for all three of them. The third option is about flora and [JANNALI] or [JANNALI]. And the third one is probably a word you've heard. It's [JANNALI].

So there are the three options we've got today. And you'll be voting on them very soon. But I'd like to say on behalf of the land council welcome everyone here today and to a special time of naming the three crocodiles. And our members and our elders would like to be welcomed here and say it's going to be very special.

And you guys, we're all from Redfern here. It's a very special place, and always was always will be Aboriginal land, isn't it? Yes.

- My name's [INAUDIBLE]. And I choose number two because there's a place with it. And my friend's name is [INAUDIBLE].

- My name is [INAUDIBLE]. And I choose group two because I like the meaning of it.

- My name is [INAUDIBLE] because it has my friend's language.

- My is [INAUDIBLE]. And I wanna choose number two because I have a sister. And her name's Jannali.

- Hi. My name's [INAUDIBLE]. I chose this name because it's my sister's name, and it's a perfect name for one of the crocodiles.

- Hi, my name is [INAUDIBLE]. And I chose number two because I like the name.

- All right, now we've done all of our voting. So we're going to look at our little box here and count out to see who is the winner. Two number twos. Is that a Jannali vote for everyone?

- Yeah.

- Yeah? I think we might be super lucky with that one. Round two. Perfect. Another one.

And number two. All righty, it looks like we have chosen our little names there. And Jannali is going to be very sad. She probably missed out. But the exciting part is that we get to name one of our crocodiles Jannali.

- The little one.

- So I think maybe that our little one that came over for all that snapping and feeding today would make a really good Jannali. Do we think so?

- Yeah.

- Yeah? We might go our boy as a Killara. That seems like a pretty good name. And then that other girl sleeping all the way on the other side, I think she looks like the perfect Merindah. Do we agree?

- Yes.

- Awesome. After a really successful vote here today, we've finally decided on three names for our freshwater crocodiles. So next time you pop down to Wildlife Sydney Zoo in Darling Harbor, have a little stop by our crocodile billabong and come meet Jannali, Killara, and Merindah.