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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Conservation safaris in Australia: wildlife adventures that make a distinction

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Conservation safaris in Australia? Wait, aren’t safaris in Africa? The phrase safari means ‘journey’ in Swahili (from East Africa) however has come to characterize ‘a journey to see wildlife’ throughout the English-speaking world. And there’s no query that Australia is a chief vacation spot for watching wildlife.

So what’s a conservation safari?  Conservation safaris type the bridge between conservation and tourism, the place adventurous of us have an unforgettable wildlife-watching journey whereas contributing to the safety of the animals they’re touring to see. Conservation safaris in Australia are seeing a rise in demand from guests who wish to make a distinction.

Find out about conservation points throughout a safari conservation safari in Australia © James Boettcher

Some conservation safaris in Australia are extra hands-on than others. At one finish of the spectrum, a share of your prices might go to supporting crucial conservation tasks on the bottom. On the different finish, you may end up on the entrance line alongside devoted conservationists, face-to-face with endangered wildlife. Both means, you’ll get a singular inside perspective of those vital tasks and have an opportunity to offer again to the group and the native wildlife you’ve gone up to now to go to. 

In the event you’re longing to attach with Australian wildlife in a extra significant means and wish to make the world a greater place, then discover your subsequent wildlife journey in our record of Australian conservation safaris!

*This submit is sponsored by Australian Wildlife Journeys

Life-saving tunnels for dunnarts and condos for black cockatoos

Kangaroo Island is off the coast of South Australia, only a stone’s throw from Adelaide. Kangaroo Island is the third largest Australian island and is internationally identified for its wild nature and high-quality produce. Guests come to Kangaroo Island for its good food and drinks, unspoiled wilderness, and wildlife.

car on a dirt road

Touring the backroads at Kangaroo Island © Distinctive Kangaroo Island

In the course of the devastating fires of 2019/2020 that burned 40% of the island, quite a few species noticed their habitats enormously impacted, with half 1,000,000 acres burned down. Though the regeneration of the bushland has been sturdy, there’s a want to raised perceive and examine susceptible species within the space and, with a conservation safari, you may help with this course of. 

For instance, the dunnart misplaced about 90% of its habitat. The Kangaroo Island dunnart is a mouse-sized, doe-eyed marsupial that lives within the western a part of the island.  This critically endangered marsupial noticed its inhabitants plummet to simply 500 people and its habitat became a mosaic of islands. Transferring from shelter to shelter turned a harmful proposition as predators might spot them extra simply. They wanted assist. 

A community of dunnart tunnels was constructed to assist them journey between unburnt areas, protected from predation. Path cameras have been positioned to observe the usage of these tunnels. 

group of people standing by man made dunnart tunnels

Visiting the dunnart tunnels © Distinctive Kangaroo Island

The Kangaroo Island shiny black cockatoo additionally suffered enormously after the fires worn out 35% of their nests. Shiny black cockatoos want hollows in mature eucalyptus timber to nest in they usually feed virtually solely on the seeds of the drooping sheoak. With out these timber, their survival is in danger. 

glossy black cockatoo

Shiny black cockatoo © Distinctive Kangaroo Island

The three-day Conservation Connection journey was designed by Distinctive Kangaroo Island to share the conservation work that’s carried out on the island and to assist the restoration of the species affected by the hearth. 

Distinctive Kangaroo Island has additionally helped by planting timber and constructing cockatoo “residences” to create provisional nests till these timber are sufficiently old to offer pure hollows for shiny black cockatoos to nest in. 

This 3-day journey is full of actions, visits, and outings to conservation websites whereas having fun with the meals and wine that Kangaroo Island is thought for. 

One of many highlights of this tour is that you just’ll get to fulfill Dr. Peggy Rismiller, the world skilled in short-beaked echidnas! Dr. Rismiller has been learning this unbelievable animal for over 30 years and he or she’s very excited to share her analysis and findings with curious guests. Get your questions prepared! 

scientist with echidna

Dr. Peggy Rismiller with a short-beaked echidna © Distinctive Kangaroo Island

You’ll additionally go to Cygnet Park, a large-scale biodiverse rewilding mission the place you’ll study concerning the restoration plan and conservation of the shiny black cockatoo. 

Now you should be pondering, what concerning the super-cute dunnart? Don’t fear,  you’ll get an opportunity to go to area survey websites with Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife to test on the “dunnart tunnels”! Right here you’ll test the path cameras for photographs of those secretive nocturnal marsupials who use the life-saving tunnels.

dunnart portrait

Kangaroo Island Dunnart (Sminthopsis fuliginosus aitkeni), by Kangaroo Island Panorama Board, licensed underneath CC BY 3.0 AU

woman checking trail camera

Heidi Groffen from KI Land for Wildlife checking path cameras for dunnarts © Distinctive Kangaroo Island

Fancy a visit to the seaside? The Kangaroo Island waters are dwelling to fascinating marine mammals like long-nosed fur seals, Australian fur seals, and Australian sea lions. 

Australian sea lions are one of many world’s rarest sea lions. Throughout your journey, you’ll go to Seal Bay Conservation Park and take a personal tour of the Australian sea lion colony situated within the south of the island. Throughout your go to, you’ll study their biology, the threats to their survival, and what managements actions are being taken to guard them.

Australian Sea-lions (Neophoca cinerea) Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, Southern Australia

A bigger male Australian Sea Lion nuzzles a smaller feminine at Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island.

Again on the north facet of the island, one other marine mammal conservation journey awaits. You’ll help within the citizen science conservation program “dolphin watch” and also you’ll additionally study concerning the visible recognition system that’s used to trace particular person dolphin actions between pods. The boats used throughout these excursions are propeller free, offering a sympathetic acoustic sample that dolphins love.

Don’t neglect that this journey consists of nature walks the place you’ll encounter different wildlife like tammar wallabies, Kangaroo Island kangaroos, Rosenberg’s goanna, short-beaked echidna, Pacific gulls, short-tailed shearwaters, Australasian gannets,  tawny-crowned honeyeaters, southern emu wrens, and western whipbirds.

Your journey features a monetary donation to Pelican Lagoon Analysis Station and to Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife.

A pair of Kangaroos on a field with the ocean at the back

Kangaroo Island kangaroos © Distinctive Kangaroo Island


Be a manta ray researcher for a day

Ever puzzled what a marine biologist’s work day seems like? Now you can discover out once you be a part of a personal, behind-the-scenes day journey with manta researcher Amelia Armstrong. That is really a singular alternative. 

The journey Behind the Scenes with Researchers: Manta Rays Non-public Constitution with Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo takes place at Ningaloo Marine Park. This World Heritage-listed park is without doubt one of the largest fringing reefs on this planet. Ningaloo Reef is dwelling to sea turtles and lots of of fish and coral species, making this among the best locations to go snorkeling. In its deepest waters, whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, and humpback whales are sighted throughout their migration, making Ningaloo Marine Park among the best locations to go whale watching in Australia

Green sea turtle from below

Inexperienced sea turtle © Sabine Zucculo/Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo

Marine biologist Amelia Armstrong is a part of the staff at Mission Manta, a program that collects knowledge concerning the Manta Ray inhabitants ecology inside Australian waters. This knowledge is essential to grasp the wants of manta rays and how one can preserve their inhabitants. 

The primary night of the personal tour is spent discussing manta ray habits and ecology and the threats that manta ray populations face. You’ll additionally learn to determine particular person manta rays, a talent that you just’ll want for the following morning’s outing!

That is the place all of it will get tremendous thrilling. You’ll get to go snorkeling to {photograph} and determine particular person manta rays. People have distinctive spot patterns on their underside and researchers will advise you on the easiest way to get photographs that can be utilized for ID. 

The photographs that you just’ll contribute to the mission will probably be utilized in a photographic database to grasp the expansion fee, intercourse ratio, and distribution of the manta ray inhabitants.

Restoring koala habitat

Koala hugging a branch

Koalas want 1000’s of timber every

For these of you who’re able to do some bodily work, this expertise is a book-on-request journey and is barely out there in the course of the optimum planting time of 12 months, from Could to September, both close to Melbourne (You Yangs) or in East Gippsland. In the course of the Koala Restoration Expertise you’ll spend the mornings planting timber and the afternoons are reserved to go on bush walks recognizing wildlife and studying concerning the bush. 

man planting trees

Planting native forests for koalas © Echidna Walkabout Nature Excursions

“The catastrophic bushfires of 2019-20 – with the unprecedented lack of wildlife, particularly koalas – have been the catalyst that introduced the Koala Restoration Expertise into existence,” remembers Janine Duffy, Echidna Walkabout Nature Excursions co-founder. “There was no particular ‘second’ when this occurred, it adopted years of concern about how Echidna Walkabout might transcend monitoring koalas to truly making a distinction by way of direct motion. We’d created the not-for-profit Koala Clancy Basis a couple of years earlier so what I did was create a tour that linked Echidna Walkabout’s touring to the Koala Clancy Basis’s work planting what we name Koala Forests.”  

Lack of appropriate habitat as a consequence of local weather change is the primary issue impacting koala populations. Throughout your Koala Restoration Expertise, you’ll assist plant varied native timber and bushes, which can create an entire ecosystem the place koalas and different indigenous wildlife will thrive. Pink river gum, yellow gum, and gray field gum are a few of the tree species planted. Different duties might embrace eradicating invasive species, and taking good care of seedlings. 

That is no small job. Every koala within the You Yangs wants about 3,000 timber! Over 80,000 timber have been planted and the objective is to plant 300,000 timber by 2030.  Timber are solely planted in the course of the optimum planting season to maximise survival fee. In 2020, their survival fee was 88%! 

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Echidna Walkabout Nature Excursions is working to revive koala habitat.

You may return dwelling understanding that your effort and time will bear unbelievable fruit. You’ll have helped create houses and meals for numerous animals for a lot of many years to return.

“The expertise is designed to assist individuals recognize that, regardless that wildlife is in hassle, it’s doable to make a distinction by being concerned in on-the-ground motion to guard the setting and biodiversity. They go away understanding they will make a distinction by being concerned in comparable actions, wherever they arrive from. This is without doubt one of the many causes we promote ALL our excursions with the catchphrase ‘Assist nature whilst you take pleasure in it’, however that is significantly related to the Koala Restoration Expertise”, stated Roger Smith, co-founder of Echidna Walkabout Nature Excursions.

woman planting trees for koalas

Planting timber for koalas © Echidna Walkabout Nature Excursions

Echidna Walkabout additionally developed the Sustainable Koala Watching Pointers and through your bush walks, your naturalist information will educate you all you must learn about how one can method koalas quietly and how one can watch them with out disturbing them. 

Your journey features a monetary contribution to the Koala Clancy Basis.

Platypus, tree roos, and megabats, the wild facet of far North Queensland

FNQ Nature Excursions in Queensland have designed an thrilling 4-day Nature, Wildlife, and Conservation Safari that covers every part from a river cruise to an evening safari, and features a go to to a bat hospital and a behind-the-scenes tour of the spotted-tailed quoll analysis mission. There may be a lot packed in these 4 days! 

Primarily based in Queensland, FNQ Nature Excursions is without doubt one of the main sustainable wildlife tour corporations in Australia. This explicit journey is turning into certainly one of their most profitable wildlife excursions, and they’re making ready extra dates for 2023 to accommodate an elevated variety of guests that wish to study Australian wildlife and contribute to conservation. 

three people sitting by palm trees and talking

Be taught concerning the rainforest throughout this Australian conservation safari © James Boettcher

One of many highlights of this tour is the chance to identify the tremendous iconic platypus! Platypus is certainly one of  essentially the most sought-after animals to identify in Australia, and on this tour, you may hit the jackpot. James Boettcher, founding father of FNQ Nature Excursions remembers one unbelievable sighting throughout certainly one of their conservation safari excursions:

After a advantageous breakfast in Yungaburra, we ventured into close by forest to search for birds and even perhaps a platypus. Quickly afterwards, we had precisely that, a platypus down within the creek with nice images alternatives and wonderful birds hoping round above, resembling a Yellow-breasted Boatbill and Rufous Shrike-thrush. Simply once we thought, issues couldn’t get any higher… I noticed a trio of Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo’s excessive above the creek. We had all of it! And all inside one scene. It was really spectacular, we didn’t know the place to look.” 

platypus swimming between lily pads

It is a nice alternative to identify a platypus © James Boettcher

You’ll begin this journey by exploring the Daintree Nationwide Park and Cape Tribulation. The Daintree rainforest is  the biggest tropical rainforest in Australia. Stroll the Jindalba nature path and boardwalk and spot wildlife alongside the best way. It’s an amazing place to go birding as you might have an opportunity to identify native species like southern cassowary, yellow-breasted boatbill, spectacled monarch, buff-breasted paradise kingfisher, noticed catbird, wompoo fruit dove, and pale-yellow robin. Different wildlife to maintain your eyes peeled for is Boyd’s forest dragonBennett’s tree-kangaroo, and musky rat-kangaroos.

southern cassowary portrait

Southern cassowary

The second day will discover you floating on an thrilling Daintree River morning cruise. Hop on a solar-powered electrical boat (no exhaust fumes!) and glide alongside the river quietly to identify wildlife just like the saltwater crocodilespectacled flying-fox, and inexperienced tree pythons. Get your binoculars prepared to identify a number of chook species together with great-billed heron, Papuan frogmouth, Pacific baza, olive-backed sunbird, large-billed gerygone, black bitternnoisy pitta, and barred cuckooshrike.

saltwater crocodile and photographer on a boat

Spot saltwater crocodiles from a solar-powered boat © James Boettcher

FNQ Nature Excursions have unique entry to the Perpetually Wild Shared Earth Reserve, a 5,000-acre reserve that’s dwelling to over 220 chook species and a wholesome inhabitants of northern quoll. The reserve is a mosaic of savanna woodland, eucalyptus forest, swamps, creeks, and everlasting lakes. This number of habitats is what makes Shared Earth Reserve a extremely various space. 

Perpetually Wild, the guardians of Shared Earth Reserve, is a social and ecological enterprise whose mission is to create reserves which can be ecologically, socially, and politically sustainable. Perpetually Wild is working along with the Muluridgi indigenous individuals of the world to realize this objective. 

You’ll spend a couple of hours exploring the Shared Earth Reserve, serving to the Perpetually Wild staff by documenting the wildlife you see and reporting on the well being of the totally different habitats which can be visited.

Your lodge that night time, Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge is the proper base for an evening safari. You’ll go to two totally different places to see and study concerning the nocturnal wildlife of the world. In the event you’re nonetheless thirsty for extra wildlife encounters then we suggest you hang around on the lodge’s nocturnal wildlife viewing platform. The  viewing platform is illuminated till 11 pm every night for company to view sugar gliders, uromys, bandicoots, antechinus, melomys, and the tremendous lovely striped possum. What an unbelievable alternative to see nocturnal Australian animals and apply your night time images abilities. 

spotted-tailed quoll on a log

Noticed-tail quolls on a log © James Boettcher

Probably the most unbelievable animals present in Queensland is the spotted-tailed quoll. Quolls are native marsupial carnivores, associated to Tasmanian devils, Antechinus, Phascogales, and extra distantly, to the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger). Quolls are a few of the largest remaining marsupial carnivores and are categorized as endangered by the federal authorities. 

Get unique behind-the-scenes entry to work being executed by the Australian Quoll Conservancy by visiting some digital camera entice places, checking the cameras, and serving to catalog sightings, places, and behaviors.

Little red flying fox on a tree

Little pink flying fox


Tree kangaroo on a tree

Tree Kangaroo © James Boettcher

Your journey features a monetary contribution to Perpetually Wild.

Hey, because you’re already right here, why not keep and take a look at the Nice Barrier Reef  for a couple of days? 

Last ideas

Conservation safaris in Australia are an amazing alternative to study wild Australia, and how one can contribute to analysis. You’ll return dwelling with plenty of wild tales out of your wildlife journey and impressed by all of the successes from the sector. 


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