The Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo is the largest mammal within the ‘mabi forests along the Atherton Tablelands. Due to habitat loss and all other modern world influences, it is listed as endangered.
As the name suggests, the Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo spends predominately of its time in trees. This cuts the chances of seeing a tree kangaroo in wild nature to very slim, unless you are very lucky to detect one.
The extremely friendly staff at the Ravenshoe Information Centre pointed me to a few areas, where tree kangaroos have been frequently sighted.
One of these hotspots happens to be near a giant tea pot.
The rich soil and cooler climate are ideal for tea plantations. A rare macropod and a nice cuppa tea add up nicely to an extraordinary experience.
I was really hoping that I would see a tree kangaroo when I arrived at the tea plantation. The helpful personnel at the restaurant said that indeed a tree kangaroo was sighted this morning, not far of the road. Even though I kept my eyes peeled, I didn’t notice this fella driving by.
High above in the tree top of a dead tree, it was munching on a rather dry diet.
How cute is this tree kangaroo? However, the angle of the sun wasn’t in my favour.
I carefully walked around the bushes and had a colourful view with the sun shining on to his brown fur.
This tree kangaroo was a well fed, even chubby.
His extremely long and strong tail rested on the tree branches, ready to grip just in case of a slip-up.
He seemed not worried about me at all, as he kept scratching his thick fur.
Evolution changed its typical kangaroo appearance, it had more of a resemblance to a sloth, I thought.
His movements were just as fluent, although it seemed a bit restless.
He kept an eye out for me as well, but was undecided on his next move.
At times, it looked like a sailor on the high mast, keeping an eye out for danger.
With the belly full and no desire to move anywhere, it nestled up in the tree top.
All curled up on a rather thin branch, it somehow managed to roll in to a comfortable position for a nap. Similar to a koala’s diet, their food is not highly nutritious.
He looked rather peaceful up on the tree top. With no more movement expected for a while, I left this sleeping beauty resting. Wow, what an experience. Just to be able seeing one of these rare and diverse mammals in nature was an incredible experience.
The evolutionary history of tree kangaroos begins a long, long time ago with a rainforest floor dwelling pademelon-like ancestor. As the Australian continent experienced a drier climate, rainforests were receding to a drier and rockier outcrop. After some generations of adapting to a new environment, a rock wallaby-like machropode evolved. Some of those ancestral rock wallabies adapted to climbing trees, which then developed to the now extinct ancestral tree-kangaroo genus ’bohra’. Out of 14 subspecies of tree kangaroos, only 2 species remained on the Australian continent. The other 12 species drifted off the Australian plateau, which is now known as New Guinea. The Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo is the smallest of all tree kangaroos.
It lives a solitary life and only meets other Lumholtz Tree Kangaroos for mating purposes. Let’s hope that they remain alive in our natural world.