Range and abundance
Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo is restricted to rainforests between the Cardwell Range and Mount Carbine Tablelands, north Queensland. It is largely restricted to upland rainforest; animals are regularly encountered in fragmented rainforest on the basalts of the Atherton Tablelands. The other Australian species, Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo, occurs further north, from Mount Windsor Tableland to Cooktown.
Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo is a distinctive kangaroo, with a short broad head, small ears, heavily muscled arms and very long black tail. Animals are blackish brown with a black face and a pale band across the forehead and sides of the face; some animals have a rufous (reddish) tinge to the fur. Adults weigh up to 10 kg, have a body length of 420 - 710 mm and tail length of 470 - 800 mm.
Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo inhabits rainforest, including well-developed mature rainforest and regrowth. Dispersing juveniles sometimes turn up in farmland, urban areas or eucalypt forest adjacent to rainforest. Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo is largely arboreal - it has strong forearms and claws for climbing trees and a long tail for balance. It is also well-adapted for travel across the ground, where it can hop like other kangaroos, although rather heavily. Tree-kangaroos feed primarily on the leaves of rainforest trees and vines. They often descend to the ground to move between food trees.
Females are sexually mature at around two years of age, and carry their young in a pouch for around nine months. The young take another three to eight months to be weaned, after which they accompany their mother for another year or more. Juvenile males are chased away from their mothers by adult males intent on mating.
A major threat to this species in the past has been the large-scale clearing of its favoured rainforest habitat on the fertile basalt soils of the Atherton Tablelands. Many animals still survive and breed in the tiny regrowth fragments there, however these are threatened by domestic dog attacks and are frequently killed on roads. In the longer term, global warming poses a threat to this species. Like other leaf-eating marsupials in the wet tropics of north Queensland, Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo is a high-altitude, cool rainforest specialist.
What is AWC doing?
AWC protects montane rainforest on Brooklyn Wildlife Sanctuary. AWC has established plots to monitor rainforest fauna and facilitates research by James Cook University on montane rainforest. AWC ecologists contribute to community-based conservation efforts for Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo on the Atherton Tablelands.