Daintree Australia is home to some seriously interesting creatures, including a population of very shy Tree Kangaroos. Never heard of them before? Well, there are actually 17 species and subspecies of these remarkable tree kangaroos found around the Australia Pacific region. Fifteen of them are found in the rainforests of eastern Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and two species are found right here, in the Tropical North Queensland. They are the Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo and the Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo, which is what we have living here with us at Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours.
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”.
Our family of tree kangaroos, Grippy, Bennie and their joey Zippy, are sometimes spotted amongst the trees between platforms 4 and 5. Although the Bennett’s tree kangaroos are the biggest of the Australian tree kangaroos, reaching up to 14kg, they are very well camouflaged and difficult to see.
These amazing creatures don’t need our Daintree zipline for transport, they’re able to jump up to 20m from the canopy to the forest floor. They sometimes do this if startled, which could be where the myth of the “drop bear” came from!
When we first discovered our population of tree kangaroos at Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours, we contacted Roger Martin, a research fellow at James Cook University to come and check them out. Although we only started seeing them regularly from 2012 , Roger thinks the tree kangaroos have probably been up in the canopy watching us since we first began Jungle Surfing in 2003. It just took them some time to overcome their shyness and realise we were no threat to them, before they started showing themselves a bit more. Now we’re one big happy, tree loving family.
© Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours and Jungle Adventures Night Walks 2020