Visitors to Skyrail Rainforest Cableway were treated to a rare sight at Red Peak station this week. A mature adult male Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo weighing approximately 8-9 kgs and measuring around 1.2 metres, was spotted on the boardwalk from a comfy spot in the canopy. Usually a shy creature, it is not known why he was content to sit in a relatively exposed position for so long but it gave guests plenty of time to take photos and appreciate being so close to this elusive animal.
Tree-kangaroos are related to normal Kangaroos but are quite different looking due to their adaptation for an arboreal or tree living mode of life. Rather than eating grass, they have reverted back to the rainforest trees, the home of the Possum-like Kangaroo ancestor millions of years ago, to take advantage of the plentiful foliage and fruits that would otherwise be consumed by monkeys and other herbivores in other parts of the world.
The last record of a Tree kangaroo at Red Peak station was in 2001, observed only briefly at that time. Sightings of these animals are very rare along the cableway, however this may be more an indication of how well the animals remain hidden rather than scarcity.
Ranger Lance wildlife spotting tip: Next time you’re in the rainforest, don’t be distracted by all the wonderful greenery, find a safe place to sit down comfortably, close your eyes for a few minutes and let your hearing adjust to the environment you are in. Try to count how many animal sounds you can hear and in which direction. Just because you can’t always see animals doesn’t mean that they are not looking at you!