a remote and unpopulated area of north east
Australia, we join an unusual group of people
in search of what could possible be, an as yet,
undiscovered species of tree kangaroo.
This is no ordinary science film but also a
thrilling blend of adventure and exploration,
with some unique outback characters.
The team is led by Rodger Martin, a charismatic,
outspoken, somewhat unorthodox zoologist, who
has a special interest in tree kangaroos.
Currently 10 species of tree-kangaroo are recognised,
8 of these are from New Guinea and two from
Northern Queensland Australia. Their evolution
is interesting and Rodger is able to passionately
explains his scientific knowledge, in a down
to earth and interesting way.
We meet the Roberts family who have lived in
relative isolation in the lee of Mount Finnegan
for 3 generations tending their cattle which
feed in the surrounding rain forest. There is
a strong tradition of natural history in the
family with the father who worked for many years
as a collector for the American Museum of Natural
His eldest son Lewis continues the family tradition
and collects for the Queensland Museum.
His younger brother Charlie is an extraordinary
bushman and has been Rodger Martin's main assistant
in the area over the years. With the help of
various colourful individuals, such as the Roberts',
a former crocodile hunter who lost a leg and
an old Aboriginal stockman (Walter Bowen) the
Since the late 70's there have been persistent
reports of tree-kangaroo sightings in the northern
Cape York forests. These have always been dismissed
by professional zoologists as unlikely, arguing
that these populations would not have survived
the dry times associated with glacial maxima.
Underlying this is the assumption that tree-kangaroos
are rain forest dependent.
Rodger's own research over the last decade on
populations of Bennett's tree kangaroo occupying
gallery forest south of Cooktown suggest that
this assumption is not valid.
Large numbers of tree-kangaroos now live in
the thin strips of forest abutting seasonally
dry creek beds. This opens up the possibility
that they could have survived in gallery forest
further north and that the reported sightings
there are true.
Rodger strongly believes that undescribed species
may still exist on northern Cape York and sets
out in search of the illusive animal.