Meet the locals!
Yes it’s true… tree kangaroos do exist and we have a family of them at Jungle Surfing!
Meet Grippy, Bennie & their joey Zippy.
There are actually 17 species and subspecies of these remarkable creatures in total. Fifteen of them are found in the rainforests of eastern Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, but two species are found right here in Tropical North Queensland.
Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo is the smallest of the species, averaging just 6-7kg. It inhabits rainforest above 800m from Mossman to Ingham, and is commonly seen in the Atherton Tablelands. There are also some Lumholtz’s tree kangaroos in wildlife parks, including Wildlife Habitat at Port Douglas.
Our family of tree kangaroos are the much rarer Bennett’s Tree Kangaroos. They are the biggest of the Australian tree kangaroos and reach 14kg. They are amazing creatures and are able to jump 20m from the canopy to the ground – they sometimes do this if startled which could be where the myth of the “drop bear” came from!!
Bennett’s Tree Kangaroos are found in lowland rainforest over a small range between Cooktown and the Daintree River, but as far as we know, Jungle Surfing is the only tourist attraction where they are regularly seen.
In fact, a recent feature in Australian Geographic Magazine noted “Few people have ever seen a Bennett’s tree kangaroo; they are cryptic and elusive, skilled at blending in with the dense rainforest canopy. There are none in captivity and only rarely have they been photographed.”
When we saw the article, we asked Roger Martin, a research fellow at James Cook University to come and check out our little population. Although we only started seeing them regularly about 18 months ago, Roger thinks the tree kangaroos have probably been up in the canopy watching us since we began jungle surfing in 2003. After nearly ten years, they realised we were no threat to them and started showing themselves a bit more. We now regularly see them between platforms 4 & 5, and sometimes in the forest around our harnessing centre. In fact they seem quite fascinated by the weird flying humans!
To find out what Grippy, Bennie and Zippy have been up to recently, head over to our facebook!
Tree Kangaroo Videos!
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