Hi everyone! Sorry you haven’t heard from us in the rainforest for a while; we’ve been busy adventuring and researching in the Wet Tropics, you see.
Weathering the cold and the rain, we were able to collect valuable data for glider activity in the winter with Siggy. As a bonus, Siggy also found an echidna on the road while driving back to the Centre. Despite hours of field work, we eagerly piled out to observe it after Siggy scooped it off the road.
The echidna wasn’t the only friend from the animal kingdom we met. As part of our socio-economics coursework, Misti took us to Lumholtz Lodge to meet with a local wildlife caretaker: Margit. Hosting us on her beautiful forested property, Margit talked about the challenges in wildlife protection in Far North Queensland. Then, she introduced us to a few of the animals she was working with. The black-footed rats were a favorite, and the agile wallaby joey she’s looking after is so young it doesn’t even have any hair yet!
A few days after that, we headed for the Daintree!
At the NightWings Rainforest Center, we were greeted by Connie and Dave who showed us some of the flying foxes at their bat hospital. They’re super adorable, but also really misunderstood in Far North Queensland where farmers fear they eat their crops and transmit diseases to their horses, which they occasionally do, but very rarely.
Flying foxes were cute, but our hearts were really set on finding a cassowary, a keystone species in the Wet Tropics and the third largest bird in the world! They’re declining in Australia, but we were lucky enough to stumble upon one! It was too far in the mangroves for me to get a good picture, so my good friend Randee graciously donated this gem:
We also went to Daintree Rainforest Observatory ran by James Cook University. They have the Canopy Crane set up there which hoisted us 47 meters (154 feet) into the air to view the rainforest. If it had been clear, we could have seen the Great Barrier Reef.
We rounded off our Daintree journey with a soothing cruise along with Daintree River…
I’m happy to report that we’ve all made it safely back to the Centre to finish up our field with Misti and Catherine! Catherine had us collect data on a long-term study on restoration on site and Misti sent us off to do a new survey on undesirable animal management in the Wet Tropics. Wish us luck as we write our final reports!