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Australia's Wildlife: explore its diverse wonders


Wildlife of Australia 
What makes Australia so different? Introduction to the mammals, birds, reptiles and other native wildlife groups.

Wildlife of the Scenic Rim and surrounds   -  Our  region is one of
Australia's biodiversity hotspots
whiptail wallaby

Araucaria Ecotours sightings  -  species we Araucaria Ecotourshave seen on  wildlife,  birding, island  and outback tours.

See below for more wildlife topics
All photos by Araucaria Ecotours. Free DHTML scripts for rotating pics provided by  Dynamic Drive

Wildlife consultancies  -  fauna surveys, customised interpretive computer programs etc. by the Araucaria team Wildlife conservation  -  wildlife conservation in Australia Sustainable wildlife tourism Araucaria's conservation projects Wildlife behaviour : introduction and links to interesting websites Wildlife Ecology: brief information and links to interesting websites Wildlife Art and Photography: links to interesting websites

On our tours we don't just name animals. We introduce you to some of the things these animals do, why they do them, how they affect and are affected by other animals and plants they share the ecosystem with, and the historical perspective of how long various groups of mammals, birds and other creatures have been in Australia, how closely or otherwise they are related to animals from other parts of the world, and the ore recent history of human-induced changes and what our species need if they are to continue into the future.

Of course we don't have time to go through all of this during a tour of one or three or even eight days, but we provide you with a general overview and some interesting examples of the behavious an ecology of anials we see (and some we don't see), and on the wildlife overview tour you receive a take-home copy of a book with a bit more detail and links to other information.

Rosella eating Grevillea flower eggflies kangaroos fighting

Following are some of the things we may consider during a tour, and that you may think about generally when watching wildlife anywhere.

Wildlife behaviour

 goannaWhy do animals do the things they do?

The answers usually involve staying alive (ecological needs) or contributing to the next generation (courtship, raising  young):

  • How does a particular animal find its food? Why does it need this kind of food?  How do young animals learn what to eat?
  • How does it avoid being eaten by others?
  • How does it behave towards other members of its species? Cooperation, avoidance, aggression, social grooming ...?
  • How does it behave towards other species?
  • How does it find a mate? How does it care for its young?
  • Does it see what we see?  Does it have senses we don't have?.
  • Play behaviour - does it play? How? Does it learn anything by playing?
Useful links to information on animal behaviour
Animal behaviour is one of the topics explored in the Scenic Rim Wildlife Ecology Centre

scarlet honeyeaterWildlife Ecology

Ecology is the scientific study of animals, plants, fungi etc. in either their natural (e.g. rainforest) or human-modified (e.g. tree-studded pastures) environment, and their interactions with each other.

And "wildlife ecology"? According to Oxford Bibliographies, "early emphasis
was on managing populations and habitats to support recreational hunting. Modern views are ... still retaining the utilitarian values of wildlife but broadening to embrace the preservation of biodiversity, nonconsumptive uses of wildlife, and ecosystem management."
If an individual animal is to survive it needs:
  • resources - food, water, shelter etc.
  • to avoid being eaten, or  infested with patrasites and disease organisms
  • to stay within a temperature range where all its bodily systems (brain activity, digestive system etc.) can continue to function and keepit alive -  thus to avoid extremes of heat, cold, and other climatic conditions (the range of temperatures tolerated differs considerably between species)
For the species to persist in the region, at least some of the animals will need to:
  • live long enough to reach reproductive age
  • find a mate (although some insects can give birth without a mate)
  • find a suitable place to give birth or lay eggs
  • (depending on the species) leave the young in a place where they have a good chance of finding their own resources and avoiding predatorthens and temperature extremes, or have  resources to care for the young until they can live independently
Interactions between animals/animals or animals/plants can include:
  • a one-sided bemefit: one eats the other - predator/prey, herbivore/plant, scavenger/carcass or parasite/host
  • competition between two animals seeking the same food, nesting hollow or other resource
  • mutualism (mutually beneficial) - e.g. birds, fruitbats or insects drink nectar and pollinate the  flowers they visit, fruitbats, ants and many birds eat fruit and disperse seed through the forest or heathland
The above may sound simple, but different red-necked wallabyanimals do things very differently, and the answers to questions may be quite complex. The fig tree for instance "pays" forits pollinatyion by letting the pollinator eat some of its developing seeds.

Some useful links todowith wildlife ecology:

Ecological research is one of the topics explored in the Scenic Rim Wildlife Ecology Centre

filming_see_eagleWildlife Art and Photography

Some useful links:

Wildlife Art Society of Australasia Inc
Caldera Art (includes wildlife and natural landscapes, Qld/NSW border regions
Steve Parish publishing (Steve is probably Australia's best-known wildlife photographer)
Wildlife Photographers Australia