Wet Tropics National Park (World Heritage)

By | September 25, 2021

The 450 km long coastline between Townsville and Cooktown in the state of Queensland is the remainder of a once extensive humid tropical and species-rich rainforest. The world heritage comprises an area of ​​around 9000 km² with over 800 tree and more than 350 higher plant species, especially ferns, orchids, mosses and lichens. The animal world is also extremely diverse.

Wet Tropics National Park: Facts

Official title: Wet Tropics National Park in Queensland
Natural monument: 8944.20 km² adjoining the Great Barrier Reef, including Consisting of 19 national parks, 31 state forests and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander “reserve”, including the 278 m high Wallaman Falls, Daintree River and Bloomfield River, Cape Tribulation, Mossman Gorge and the volcanic Atherton Tablelands with the maars of Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine; Record precipitation of 9140 mm on Mount Bellenden Ker
Continent: Australia / Oceania; See localcollegeexplorer
Country: Australia, Queensland
Location: between Townsville and Cooktown
Appointment: 1988
Meaning: the remainder of a once extensive humid tropical rainforest in Australia as an extraordinary example of evolution
Flora and fauna: 1161 higher plant species such as the licuala ramsayi palm; 500 of which are only found here; Habitat of 30% of the Australian marsupial species such as musk rat kangaroo and Lumholtz tree kangaroo, large flying squirrel bucket, the broad-footed pouched mouse species Antechinus godmani and spotted-tailed marten, 58% of bat species such as tube-nosed bat; Over 370 species of birds such as the tooth cat bird, the small tree slide and the cassowary

Patchwork quilt in shades of green

If you were able to glide through the air with a paraglider from Cape Tribulation to Townsville, taking advantage of an unexpected thermal, you would discover a “holey carpet” of damp rainforest greens beneath you. Tobacco plantations, fruit-growing areas with guavas and mangos, extensive lush pastures on which black and white cattle are kept are the “cultural additions” that cut through the original green: the green of the nest ferns and antler ferns, the climbing plants such as Rhaphidophora pinnata with their large, “fingery” Leaves, the strangler figs that wrap around a guest tree, and the prickly “Wait-a-while”, a palm tree that holds onto guest plants with the help of sharp thorns in order to reach the canopy. Only here and there a red splash of color lights up. It is the spectacular bloom of the »firewheel tree«,

Then on the ground an encounter, a brief moment, accompanied by mutual surprise: an almost ostrich-sized cassowary with its horn crest on its head steps out of the thicket and stands in the way. Its plumage shines blue-black, the neck of this flightless bird shimmers with a light bluish tinge. Among his peers, »female emancipation« applies: the females prefer a promiscuous life and lay green-colored eggs in the nest of several males. They then leave their respective “partners” alone with brood care. An encounter with this “primeval bird” is not always characterized by mutual consideration: if a cassowary feels challenged, it kicks mercilessly with its powerful legs. With its thorn-like claws, it can inflict considerable and sometimes fatal wounds on its victim. But the population of cassowaries in the Australian wet rainforest is decreasing – no wonder, because after intensive settlement and deforestation only green patches of rainforest are left, which are spread over the northern Queensland near the coast.

Sometimes the rainforest vegetation is nothing more than a broad border around a maar like Lake Barrine. The nearby Lake Eacham is also of volcanic origin, on the banks of which huge fronds of tree ferns form a protective roof over the edge of the shore. Barely noticeable and only for a fraction of the blink of an eye, something the size of a rat flits across the forest floor. It is a brownish musk rat kangaroo with its hairless, scaly “rat tail” and a pointed snout. In the meantime, without taking any notice of the two-legged animals present, a bush hen, whose red-yellow colored head clearly stands out from the otherwise dark plumage, scratches the forest floor. With skillful backward movements, this bird, which is somewhat reminiscent of a turkey, brings together leaves and branches to pile them up to form a mound of leaves. The females lay their eggs in this “incubator”. The rotting process creates a great deal of heat and moisture in the heap, so that the eggs are “automatically” hatched. Not far away, a golden-brown diamond python, which owes its name to the characteristic body drawing, is curled up in the sun.

But long shadows lay over this idyll: Not only the controversial construction of the connection from Bloomfield to Cape Tribulation has left wounds in the Australian tropical rainforest, but also the unsatisfied appetite of local building lions like George Quaid, who at any price have landed with »rainforest- Want to market Ambiente “: In the undeveloped north of Queensland, the idea of ​​a” Palm Springs “has to be realized. Access routes are planned and implemented without taking the ecosystem into account, as in Southedge, not far from Cairns. The road known locally as “George’s Driveway” cuts through an ecologically important corridor between Black Mountain and Lamb Range, which the cassowary, which is already considered threatened, uses as a “hiking trail” between these two rainforest areas. Road construction continued despite major concerns. Devastating rains in 1998 finally led to an environmental catastrophe with landslides of unimaginable proportions. In the meantime, various regional and supraregional state institutions are working together on a strategy for better protection of this world natural heritage.

Wet Tropics National Park (World Heritage)