Tag Archives: WIRES

K- Forester Kangaroo – Macropus giganteus

Welcome to Day 11 of the A-Z Challenge.

For those of you overseas, no doubt you’ll find meeting today’s guest rather exciting because you may be meeting a kangaroo for the first time. Although I’m Australian born and bred, I still love seeing kangaroos, particularly in the wild as you usually don’t see them very often and contrary to some tourists’ hopes, you won’t find them hopping through the city streets.

During our 3 week trip to Tasmania in January, we were mostly staying with friends out in the bush near Devonport. This meant we were immersed in the local wildlife. There were numerous Bennett’s Wallabies, Kangaroos, birds and my son swears he heard a Tasmanian Devil howling in the night. That was all very special, although our daughter wasn’t so keen on the news of the Devil. You see, we often arrived home from our travels rather late at night and even though they eat dead bodies rather than the living, she didn’t want any up close and personal encounters.

Unfortunately, given that there is so much wildlife in Tasmania, especially of the small hopping variety, too many animals find their way on the roads and end up as what we Australians call “Road Kill”. On average, 32 animals are killed every hour on Tasmanian roads.

‘More animals die per kilometre on Tasmanian Roads than anywhere else in the world,’ says Don Knowler, author of Riding the Devil’s Highway.

‘The scale of road kill in Tasmania is just colossal,’ he says, adding that almost 300,000 animals are killed a year, with some groups putting the figure as high as half a million.

Another problem is secondary road kill. Animals like the very, endangered Tasmanian Devil, are run over while feeding on the road.

When we were driving back from Port Arthur at night, you could see the Bennett’s Wallabies in high numbers beside the road and it wasn’t uncommon to see them hopping across the road not far in front of the car and needing to take preventative measures. Unfortunately, we hit a wallaby and when we turned back we found its dead joey beside it. Naturally, I felt sick and and horrified shock that we’d done that to any kind of animal, especially a mother with her joey. There are wildlife groups, like WIRES, which take in injured animals and try to nurse hem back to the wild. Unfortunately, our wallaby and joey had died on impact.

I should also note that as important as it is to avoid hitting animals on the roads, it is also important to consider your own safety. While I was at university, a friend of mine died swerving to avoid a koala on the road and hit a tree.

These are some of the realities behind all those images you see of cute, fluffy Australian marsupials and thankfully there are people trying to increase awareness of the dangers of road kill and caring for injured animals to reduce the toll.

Yet, more must be done.

xx Rowena

Reference

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/tasmania-roadkill-capital-of-the-world/7021816http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/tasmania-roadkill-capital-of-the-world/7021816

 

National Tree Planting Day: Meeting Taronga’s Zoomobile!

When you think of Australian animals, koalas and kangaroos have hogged much of the limelight. However, today we met a few unsung characters when Taronga Zoo’s Zoomobile came to town.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not exactly sure what we were at this morning. I was just tagging along with my daughter and her cub scout pack. There was tree planting, running through the bush with her mates and meeting a real cast of characters from Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo. I was about to say cute and furry characters but if you’ve ever seen an echidna, you’d realise they’re more along the lines of rough and spiky. Indeed, I was told their spines can easily puncture through car tyres, although I’ve patted a few and survived unscathed. Also, I wouldn’t exactly describe the Eastern Shingleback Lizard as “cute” either. That is, unless you go with the definition: “ugly but interesting!

Our daughter pats a Shingleback Lizard

Our daughter pats a Shingleback Lizard

Mind you, in terms of cuteness, it is hard to overlook this baby Ringtail Possum.

How cute: Baby Ringtail Possum.

How cute: Baby Ringtail Possum.

Personally, the star of the show had to be a somewhat obscure marsupial called the Yellow-bellied Glider, which arrived in a rather intriguing wooden contraption that reminded me a bit of a miniature phone booth. I didn’t hear this critter make a noise and was just admiring its photogenic qualities and the softness of its fur when an almighty din erupted from the DVD player. Can’t even begin to describe what its call sounds like but you can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnzGlC0Pmfo

Feeding the Yellow-bellied Glider.

Feeding the Yellow-bellied Glider.

I was also stoked to meet their echidna. You might recall that we chanced across a few echnidas on a bushwalk locally which I wrote about here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/bushwalking-through-the-lens-australian-style/

Talk about a sticky beak!

Talk about a sticky beak!

Even though we’ve seen echidnas in the wild, I was still stoked to see theirs, who was also a lot more sociable and willing to show off a little and give us a few more insights into the life and times of the echidna. Apparently, it locates it’s food using the tip of its snout or nose, which is sensitive to electrical signals from an insect body and this is how it searches and “sniffs” out ant and termite nests. Echidnas then normally tear into the mound or nest with its sharp front claws while its snout exposes the ants or termites. These are then caught with its fast-flicking, sticky tongue. Because they have no teeth the Echidna crushes the insects between horny pads in its mouth.

That all sounds like a lot of hard work just to get a feed…especially when you could just pop into the supermarket!

This lizard looks quite accustomed to the camera!

This lizard looks quite accustomed to the camera!

In addition to the cute and furies, the sharp and spikies, there were the reptiles…always popular at any animal show. I must admit I was quite relieved not to run into any of these on our recent bushwalk…especially any SNAKES!!

Miss intrigued by the Children's Python.

Miss intrigued by the Children’s Python.

The Zoomobile wimped out a bit today on the snake front by only bringing what’s known as a Children’s Python. After all, it’s not a good idea to introduce Australia’s deadliest snakes to a whole lot of kids. “Mummy, look at me,” as Little Johnny’s clutching an Eastern Brown, Australia’s deadliest snake. That wouldn’t go down well on Facebook at all!

Yes, Australia is full of deadly snakes and if you’d like to read more about them with going anywhere near them, click here: http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2012/07/australias-10-most-dangerous-snakes/

In contrast to the Eastern Brown, the Children’s Python is like the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny all rolled into one user-friendly snake.

Actually, maybe not.

I just did a bit of quick Google research and found out that the Children’s Python isn’t some docile relative of a jelly snake, which makes a suitable pet for kids. Rather, it is named after the scientist John George Children, who first described them. Humph! That’s the last time I go playing with one of those things. Yes, they actually do bite but are non-venomous.

Yes, I’ll stick to eating jelly snakes!

Back on the cute list, we also spotted this frog which seemed to change colour to match its habitat. Clever!

Well, returning after school drop off this morning, I have finally found out what yesterday was all about.

It was the 26th July and National Tree Planting Day and we were planting trees to protect the long term habitat of the Yellow-Bellied Glider, which actually lives locally at Kincumber. This is a joint project between Gosford City Council and Taronga Zoo. One thing I did pick up was the these gliders live in tree hollows, which are formed when the branches drop off and the wood rots away to form the hollow. It takes at least 120 years for a tree to be mature enough for these tree hollows to form so we really need to protect our older trees as well as planting new ones for the future. Here is a link to more information about the project: https://taronga.org.au/education/project-habitat/kincumber-yellow-bellied-glider

Meanwhile, as the cubs were planting trees and enjoying the Zoomobile, our son was away on camp with the Scouts. We managed to enjoy a snapshot of the bush when we picked him up. I particularly loved the pink Boronia flowers. They have a beautiful fragrance and I used to pick them and make potions out of them when I was a kid.

Beautiful Boronia Flowers.

Beautiful Boronia Flowers.

Anyway, just thought I’d share this impressive shot of him carrying his pack. I don’t think it was an heavy as it looks or gravity would have done its job.

Glad I'm not carrying that pack.

Glad I’m not carrying that pack.

Our boy Scout is rapidly growing up!

Our boy Scout is rapidly growing up!

It’s been very encouraging working on this post and realising the limitations of my knowledge and pushing those boundaries out. Of course, we never stop learning and most of our greatest lessons take place out of the classroom.

xx Rowena

The End of a Great Weekend.

The End of a Great Weekend.