On Saturday 5 March the Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre was packed to the brim with people enjoying the first of the Wet Tropics Wild Talks, titled ‘Outstanding and Irreplaceable’. Traditional Owners, scientists and wildlife specialists delivered presentations about what makes the Wet Tropics so special.
Wet Tropics Wild Talks is a series of events happening quarterly at the Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre as part of the Wet Tropics Management Authority’s efforts to bring the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area into the hearts and minds of the community. The talks are designed to encourage everyone to discover and enjoy the outstanding qualities of the area.
At the ‘Outstanding and Irreplaceable’ event, Traditional Owner Leah Talbot vividly recounted her experiences on country, why it moves her and how different people see different futures for her people managing country. Leah is a Kuku Yalanji woman from the Bloomfield River as well as a scientist and a director on the Wet Tropic Management Authority Board.
Wildlife expert and presenter Terry Carmichael took the audience on a journey through time to enable everyone to appreciate why the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is so outstanding.
World Heritage specialist and first executive director of the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Peter Hitchcock AM spoke about international and national politics impacting on World Heritage listings and the circumstances when listing may or may not be a good thing.
The audience also enjoyed a visual journey with author of ‘Eternal Endemism The Wet Tropics: Endemic Terrestrial Vertebrates of Australia’s Wet Tropics’ Craig Ward, who presented photographs and fascinating information of over 85 Wet Tropics endemic animal species. For more information or to purchase the book go to www.eternalendemism.com.
Zoo to You concluded the event with some amazing wildlife. Zoo to You’s young wildlife handler, Jake, inspired the audience with his humour and knowledge of a water python and crocodile and how to keep safe around waterways. A baby rufous bettong (related to the endemic northern bettong) provided the audience with a cute and cuddly encounter. The audience learnt that the rufous bettong picks up sticks and leaves with its tail to build its nest amongst tree buttresses.
The second Wet Tropics Wild Talks titled ‘Wildlife under the canopy’ will be about wildlife totems, tree kangaroos, quolls and flying foxes, and will be presented by Traditional Owners and wildlife experts—find out more information here.