Thursday, 28 June 2012

Wilderness Part four - Rocking the Wallabys

The Rock Fig, staple diet of the Black Footed Rock Wallaby

The Black Footed Wallaby is so rare. Only 4 places left in the whole world where you will find them and they are all in Western Australia.

Why are they so endangered?

The introduction of the European Fox in the 1800's decimated their population when the foxes decided to put these cute little creatures on their menu.

This species of Wallaby are only very little, just 3-7kg in weight. Easy prey.

The foxes are not an indigenous species and have no natural predators here to keep their numbers in check so they basically ran amok. There is now a controlled poisoning programme in place and slowly the Wallabys are starting to recover.

We saw them at the Mandu Mandu Gorge and at Yardie Creek. Two very beautiful places, steeped in aborginal history, where the people shared their cave dwellings in the rocks with the wallabys side by side.

They even shared a food source. The wallabys feed mainly on the fruits of the Rock Fig which grow on the rocks.

In the Mandu Mandu Gorge there are only about 35 in total, we were privileged to see 6 of them.

It was a hot, still day. We set out at 3.30pm for the 2 hour trek to the top of the gorge. Western Australia is just coming out of a 16 year drought, recent rains had brought new growth and new life to the gorge. Shrubs were in flower and fruit and all the many animals and creatures were making the most of the booming feeding grounds and moisture. Breeding also booms when food is plenty.

Mandu Mandu is aboriginal for "Many Stones" and is very appropriately named. It was more of an upward scramble than a walk. The fact that many poisonous snakes make these rocks their home too, was never very far from our minds.

The climb to the top of the gorge was so worthwhile and our efforts were highly rewarded. As we turned around to look back at the Ocean, we saw humpback whales breaching on the horizon. Just beautiful.

The wallaby's are so adorable and cute, they have the sweetest faces and I just felt the urge to cuddle one. I really hope they make it, I really hope that long after I am gone, their species will survive and thrive in this beautiful place for generations to come.

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