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BLOG 4: THE WET TROPICS - WTMA Wild Talk Lecture - March 2016

Posted by Craig Ward, March 2016 on

eternal endemism©

BLOG 4: The Wet Tropics - WTMA Lecture #1

Outstanding and Irreplaceable

March 2016, was lovely. It was great to be home and we had a very busy couple of months ahead. I hit the ground running and on the 5th of March I would be talking at the inaugural WTMA Wild Talk. This is what WTMA had to say about the event;


Date published: 18th March 2016

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

Zoo to You concluded the event with some amazing wildlife. Zoo to You’s young wildlife handler, Jake, inspired the audience with his humor 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. 

You can support efforts to understand and conserve the endangered Northern Bettong with the collaborative project featured here.  

It was a pleasure to join in with the first of the WTMA Wild Talks and we would like to thank and congratulate WTMA and look forward to future events.

§ 4th June - The Wild Talk is titled ‘Under the Canopy Part 1’

o Welcome to Country and the significance of Wet Tropics wildlife from the perspective of the GimuyWalaburraYidinji’s people.

o Roger Martin - a dynamic and stimulating presentation on tree-kangaroos.

o Alberto Vale from Wildcam provided the premier showing of his film 'Quolls: Fast and Furious'.

§ 13th August - The Wild Talks event is ‘Under the Canopy Part 2’, about the iconic cassowary.

I will be in Finland for the November event, have fun…

Craig Ward, March 2016.