If there’s one creature Australia is famous for around the world, it’s the kangaroo. They bound through our scrub and across the wide open spaces, very much a ground dwelling creature. So it may be hard to imagine a kangaroo that lives a much higher life – up in the trees.
They’re called tree kangaroos. And you can see them here in far north Queensland. Mind you, they’re fairly shy creatures in the wild so don’t expect them to pose for your cameras. You can see them at Karen Coombes home at Malanda, on the Atherton Tablelands, a lovely hour’s drive from Cairns. Dr Coombes has been nursing injured and sick tree kangaroos back to health for years. They may have been hit by a car or attacked by dogs – getting them healthy and back to the wild can be a long, hard and expensive effort.
Like many wildlife carers, Karen is a volunteer. Local vets help her out, but she needs funds to keep rescuing these beautiful creatures. She’s started a fund-raising operation and will soon have a website with info on how you can help.
ABC Far North wildlife correspondent Martin Cohen took me to meet Karen and some of her tree kangaroos. Benjamin likes to play in a potted fig, while former “patient” Willie likes to wander in for a feast of milk and sweet potato.
Why is it so important to help preserve tree kangaroo populations? And why do they live in the trees? Listen to Karen & Martin explain.