Readers’ wildlife photos

December 11, 2019 • 7:45 am

Reader Chris Taylor from Canberra sends us some animal pictures, but also some distressing picture of the fires that are destroying Australia’s animals and its forests. His notes are indented:

Earlier this year, to get away from the Canberra winter, I spent six weeks on a working trip to a Bush Heritage Australia nature reserve on the Atherton Tablelands of Far North Queensland.  I have some photos that you might be able to use.

These first ones are of a Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) family that I saw on the Atherton Tablelands. This is one of two species of tree kangaroo found in Australia; the other species are from New Guinea and surrounding islands. It’s odd to think of a kangaroo living in the canopy of the rain forest, but they are quite adept at getting about in the trees.  The Tree Kangaroos probably share a common ancestry with the Rock Wallabies, and have evolved features to help them: long tails for balance, long claws on the front feet (you can see the claws on the female in the first photo) and soft pads on the hind feet to give grip on the branches.

Mother and joey:

Adult male:
Joey on the left, female and male hidden in the leaves:

And the terrible fires:

There’s no wildlife in these, but a few photos of the bushfires in New South Wales.  I am a member of the RFS (Rural Fire Service) and have been out to a few of the fires.  Most of the time I don’t get a chance to take photos, but here are a few.

As of Monday, bushfires have burnt out a total of over 2.7 million hectares (about 10,600 square miles) in New South Wales alone this year, and there are over 100 fires still active, covering over 2 million hectares.  There has been one burning close to home for almost two weeks, so my brigade has been very active in trying to get it under control. The first photo is how it looked from home on 29 November. Two days later, I was out on the fireground helping with logistics. The second and third photos show the extent of the smoke.


Also included two photos from an earlier trip.  A waterbombing helicopter in the smoke at Gum Scrub, and fire in the forest at night near Long Flat.

8 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. The tree kangaroos are adorable. Looking at the Wiki link, looks like they are in trouble.

    “In June 2019, it was reported that many Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroos were going blind…” whether from virus or plant toxins.

  2. “There’s no wildlife in these”

    I know what this means, but I think that is not true – there must be living things in there, or at least recently living.

    I point this out because, as I have become numb to news of wildfires over the past few years, rarely is it made clear that the wildlife in those areas are getting killed in large numbers, or hopefully escaping safely. It’s awful to consider the problem.

    1. Yes, I might have phrased that better. One of the more unpleasant aspects of fire fighting is to come across wild or domestic animals that have not been able to get out of the path of the fire and have been injured, and knowing that there is nothing I can do for them. This year the fires have burned through a large area of koala habitat. I shudder to think about how many have been lost.

  3. I live in Melbourne where we haven’t been affected by the bushfires but I’ve been in Sydney this week for work. On Tuesday the smell of burning wood was everywhere and the air was almost unbreathable. The government response to the fires has been appallingly inadequate.

  4. Loved the arboreal ‘roos, but the wildfires were horrendous. The world is simultaneously burning up and drowning; world leaders are either mostly talk with little action, or in denial and exacerbating the problem. Both approaches means a bleak outlook for life on earth.

    It has always saddened me that President Carter’s environmental awareness was not taken seriously in the 70’s. If America actually adopted his policies and continued to expand them to the present day, the world would be a much better place.

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