Camera Traps – May 2020

Apart from a brazen Brush Turkey – Alectura lathami (J.E. Gray, 1831), determined not to be excluded from the month’s tally, the greatest delight in the data collected from the Camera Traps – May 2020, was the Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo – Dendrolagus bennettianus (De Vis, 1887), captured on Camera 9, on 3 May at 2129-hours.  Bennett’s tree-kangaroos are endemic to tropical rainforests in northeastern Queensland, Australia, between the Daintree River in the south to Mount Amos in the north and Mount Windsor in the west, an area covering less than 4000 square-kilometres.  With its main predators, other than humans, being dingos (Canis lupus dingo) and Amethystine Pythons – Simalia kinghorni (Stull, 1933), Bennett’s tree-kangaroos are described as the largest of Australian arboreal mammals and that they enjoy relatively little threat of predation.  However, with declining Indigenous hunting in protected areas, there would be a proportionate increase in the size and population of Scrub Pythons, with increasing pressure of tree-kangaroo populations. 

Over the course of the month, one of the camera traps was totally dysfunctional and another two exhibited concerning qualities, but captured data nonetheless.  In total, the month was busier than the previous month, with 33 cassowary sightings, 96 pigs and 17 dingoes.

Crinkle-Cut is the male cassowary, depicted in the image of Camera 8 from 5 May (above), that Big-Bertha almost always mates with first.  We believe he is now nesting, as he has not been seen for weeks and also, Big-Bertha has been making overtures towards Scratch, a smaller and younger male who has two 10-month-old chicks from last season in-tow.  Interestingly, BB was vocalising throughout the night, last evening – a behaviour we have not previously encountered, prompting us to wonder what this behaviour sought.  Delilah, the penultimate female in the header image (above), remains as a mated pair with Taiga (cassowary), but soon there will be many fewer sightings with more males nesting.

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