A few years ago I caught a glimpse of this tree kangaroo at Fleays Wildlife Sanctuary on the Goldcoast. I only managed to catch a quick, rather blurred shot of him before he disappeared back into his pen. They are elusive and secretive creatures and are on the endangered species list. One of the last remaining habitats for them is in the rainforest that surrounds Malanda, my house sitting home. So last weekend we went on a mission to see if we could spot one. They come out to feed in the late afternoon so we wandered slowly through the rainforest with necks craned searching the canopy for signs of a dangling tail.
They are strange creatures related to both the kangaroo and the possum. Their tail is only used for balance and unlike other tree dwellers it cannot wrap around branches. They are the closest Australia has to a monkey.
“The ancestor of the kangaroos and their kind was possum-like and descended from the trees to spawn a large and diverse fauna of browsers and grazers. Curiously one group the Tree-kangaroos ascended the trees again to exploit the large foliovore (leaf-eating) niche in the tropics of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) occupied by primates like Proboscis Monkeys in nearby Indonesia. Thus the Tree-kangaroos are in many respects the closest animals we have to monkeys in the Australo-Papuan region. Unfortunately for Tree-kangaroos their meat is tasty (hence the genus Dendrolagus or tree-hare given by the Dutch) and hunting along with habitat destruction and climate change are significant threats. Thus the majority of species are threatened or vulnerable under IUCN Red List classification” For more information click here.
Needless to say we did not see one but had a pleasant walk/stroll/wander through the rainforest.
There are a couple of other places near here that these strange creatures hang out. So we will try again to spot them.
We have 5 more weeks left before the home owners come back. How quickly the time has passed