National Geographic: Kangaroo Comeback

Synopsis:
Year:
1998
9 Views

The red kangaroo powerful, comical

engaging this is the desert

dwelling symbol of Australia

But kangaroos can be found almost

anywhere down under

They're up in trees

...on the forest floor

...and can even be found on the rocks

But all the kangaroos face danger

This is the story of a mother

and her Joey

and how he comes into his own

There is tenderness here

in the desert

and the harsh reality of survival

Persecuted by some, revered by others

the red kangaroo has astonishing

tales to tell

This is Australia, the driest

inhabited continent on earth

Sixty million years ago

this land began its final break

from the rest of the world

evolving along a path all its own

Today, its vast, open interior lies

naked in the sun

a land from another place in time

It's unforgiving here, not for

the faint of heart

and survival means marching to

a different beat

But this dry, hostile landscape

is not devoid of life

it's home to one of the most

astonishing creatures on earth

Kangaroos live in New Guinea

and Australia

yet their name is known far and wide

But while the world may know

a 'roo when it sees one

to science, they're still

something of a riddle

You might think nothing this big

is supposed to hop

But kangaroos do it with speed

and agility

Six-foot marvels of efficient

locomotion

they emerged from the rain forest

then spread over a continent

while adapting to desert heat

This is the story of the

red kangaroo

an amazing tale from the

land down under

It's summertime in the outback

And the 'roos can be found

where there is food

Most red kangaroos are red

in name only the females

and youngsters tend to be gray

The 'roos look like they're

congregating in groups

but it's food, not the company

that draws them together

For kangaroos

the most powerful social bond is

between a mother and her young

And like many of Australia's

astonishing mammals

joeys are raised in a pouch

They spend the first eight months

of their fascinating lives

living in a built-in nursery

This youngster needs a taste of

life outside the pouch

his mother's nearly bursting

at the seams

A wedgetailed eagle waits for his debut

but it's not here to wish

him good luck

Joey doesn't care who's in attendance

He's not in a hurry to come out

His mother has other ideas

She dumps him out in a tangled heap

For the first time

he sets foot in the world

But the place is not to his liking

The eagle watches his entrance

and exit

It's following the show

with keen eyes

A six-foot wingspan

and powerful talons

make the wedgetail

a dangerous observer

For young kangaroos that are

clumsy or careless

death can descend from the sky

Shade is precious in the desert heat

To cool themselves, kangaroos

lick their skin

where blood vessels run close

to the surface

Getting comfortable can be a bigger

problem especially

with a pouch full to the brim

A joey's world revolves around

its mother relationships

don't get much closer than this

The kangaroos languish

It'll be nightfall before there's

any relief from the heat

This old male decides to lay down

afternoon stakes

he's digging a hollow to rest

his giant hips

For the joey, a tail in the face is

worth the security of the pouch

He's safe from predators

and free to keep an eye on

the goings on

His mother's portable nursery

the hallmark of most marsupials

originated in the dinosaur age

One hundred million years ago

rain forest blanketed this land

Only small slivers of green

still remain

lush shrinking Edens clinging to

an island continent's edges

In places no more than 30 miles wide

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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