Monday, May 3, 2010

Swamp Wallabies

As I started to write this blog, on a totally different topic, I looked up to see a swamp wallaby and her joey near the edge of my bush.  This is what "Scrubby Bush" is all about.  Many people are out there working to save, what are known as, high value conservation areas, and, of course, that is a good thing.  However we also need to save plain old scrubby bush, because gorgeous creatures such as swamp wallabies, need them to survive.  I managed to take the two of them through a window, but when I went outside the joey bolted and rightly so.  These creatures are very shy and so rarely seen.  On this occasion I'm sure the mum was one of the swamp wallabies I raised about six years ago, or she too, would have fled as I came out of the door.
See the joey to the left of her mum.  She is now totally out of the pouch and following her mum to find out where the best food areas are.
Mum stayed until I took this photo and then hopped back into the bush to find her joey.

Swamp wallabies need forests with dense shrubs in which to both feed and survive and so are particularly vulnerable to clearing.  One of the problems with rural residential developments is that humans sometimes have this need to clear everything and replace it with exotic species, and even when they keep their trees, they often clear everything beneath them, leaving a park like look that's pleasing to a human eye, but which will not support animal life as there is no where to hide from predators and nothing to eat.  I am hopeful that this blog will show people the wonders that live within the scrubby bush and thus encourage them to keep it intact.  Unlike eastern grey kangaroo, which primarily are grass eaters, swamp wallabies are browsers and eat a range of herbs and shrubs as well as grasses, bark and leaves.  I've added a couple of much older photos for you to enjoy.
This could be the Mum we saw today.  She came into care when her mum was killed by a car.  Here she is about 230g.

Here, that same joey, all grown up with her own joey, a bit smaller than the one sighted today.  You can see wire in the background, that's just a circle around a new plant I didn't want the wallabies to nibble before it was established.

Somehow we need to find a way to live on this planet without destroying the homes of all the other creatures we share it with.  Not an easy task, but I just know we have the will to make it happen, especially when we realise what we will lose if we don't.

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