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Wildlife attraction assists research into rare species

Wildlife attraction assists research into rare species
September 17, 2013

Leading North Queensland wildlife experience, The Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas, is working with international wildlife research students to learn more about a rare species of Tree Kangaroo.

Undergraduate students from the Atherton Tablelands School for Field Studies (SFS) are researching the scent marking behaviour of Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroos at the wildlife park, which has the only captive breeding colony in the world.

The SFS provides an opportunity to undertake an entire semester abroad with programmes accredited by Boston University that focus on Ecology/Fauna, Natural Resource Management, and the Socio-economics of conservation and Research.

Wildlife Manager Clare Anderson said Wildlife Habitat's breeding population has provided a valuable opportunity to observe and document some of the actions of this elusive species.

Anderson states "to date very little has been documented on this species, given that they are only found in the central and southern parts of the Wet Tropics World Heritage region, making them very difficult to find, let alone research.

"This partnership has allowed us to not only learn more about this unique animal that we have the privilege of working so closely with, but also an opportunity for us to share our knowledge with those undertaking the studies and furthermore, the scientific community," she said.

Anderson said the greatest challenge is obtaining enough relevant data given the limited numbers of animals in captivity and the lack of access to wild animals for this type of research.

Some of the previous research projects at Wildlife Habitat undertaken by SFS have included looking at browse preferences and seasonal variation, consumption and defecation rates, and response to odours from various predators.

Situated in Port Douglas, The Wildlife Habitat provides visitors with a chance to observe up close a huge range of flora and fauna, including the only breeding colony of rare Lumholtz Tree Kangaroos in captivity.

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