Surfing with kanga
JUNGLE Surfing tour guides have started studying the Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo after noticing an increase in sightings of the elusive marsupial.
The ‘‘drop-bears’’ of the forest have been spotted during the daytime at Cape Tribulation despite normally being most active at dusk and the evening.
Jungle Surfing tour guide Oliver O’Reilly said in the 10 years they have been in business, they had only ever seen one kangaroo, until this year where they have been popping up randomly.
‘‘In the past month we have seen them six times but we will see them in patches, they will be in the area for a few days then disappear,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s pretty special seeing them, we have had one walk past as we were eating lunch, spotted two of them on a tour of 13 and occasionally they have been running up and down the tree right next to us.
‘‘What I found interesting is I don’t see them at night in the same piece of rainforest, but during the day we are seeing heaps of them and they seem to be the same individuals.’’
Jungle Surfing has decided to record their sightings and find similarities by monitoring the weather conditions, time of day, what they might be eating and how many people are around.
‘‘Being eco-tourism, we want to see what our impact is having, if any, on the rainforest animals and the rainforest,’’ Mr O’Reilly said.
‘‘It’s interesting the fact a shy animal originally hunted by people is now coming into really close proximity to the most active part of the canopy as far as people are concerned.
‘‘It’s weird to see them during the day, being active and feeding with a lot of people around making lots of noise.’’
What factors have led to this increase in sightings, including weather or the fact Jungle Surfing is located near a drinkable freshwater creek and where the Bennett’s Tree Kangaroos go when not checking out the Jungle Surfers, are questions the tour guides are keen to find out.
But for now they will continue to observe and collect data on the rare marsupial in the hopes of learning more about these curious creatures.
HANGING AROUND: the Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo