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Australia's "animal firefighters" - long-snouted kangaroos released into the wild


They have been on earth for millions of years, but they are still considered endangered: long-snouted kangaroos are important to the Australian ecosystem - because of a special behavior.

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Long-snouted rabbit-kangaroo: Released in sanctuary

Photo: Australian Reptile Park / dpa

Australia's wildlife has been enriched by 20 rare long-snouted kangaroos.

As part of a breeding program for the endangered marsupials that only live Down Under, the young animals were released in a protected area of ​​Barrington Tops National Park about 270 kilometers north of Sydney, the Aussie Ark organization said on Friday.

The special thing about the long-snouted rabbit kangaroo: Potorous tridactylus, as it is called by its scientific name, is celebrated by experts as the »animal fire brigade«.

"It is one of the smallest and oldest members of the kangaroo family and is a living fossil that has remained relatively unchanged for about ten million years," wrote Aussie Ark.

Yet many Australians would never have heard of the animal, known locally as the Long-nosed Potoroo.

"This is all the more tragic when you consider the ecological role of the species, which can ultimately save human lives," emphasized the animal rights activists.

»Engineers of the Ecosystem Earth«

Long-snouted kangaroos primarily feed on underground mushrooms and truffles, explained Tim Faulkner, the organization's president.

These are dug up with their front paws, with the animals kicking up and digging up large amounts of foliage on the forest floor.

This extraordinary behavior not only aids in leaf decomposition, but also keeps the soil moist and encourages the growth of new plants - ultimately mitigating the power of bushfires.

Faulkner referred to the cute firefighters as "engineers of the Earth's ecosystem."

Accordingly, even the local fire brigade came to be present at the release.

"I wish we could take the animals on board," said Fire Chief Brendan White.

Long-snouted kangaroos - also known as long-nosed kangaroos - are classified as vulnerable, according to the Australian Department of the Environment.

Most notably, the catastrophic bushfires of 2019 and 2020 drastically reduced their numbers.


Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2023-02-24

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