Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of Papua New Guinea
(Scientists in the Field Series)
Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0618496416
It looks like a bear, but it isn’t one. It climbs trees as easily as a monkey-but it isn’t a monkey, either. It has a belly pocket like a kangaroo, but what’s a kangaroo doing up a tree? Meet the amazing Matschie’s tree kangaroo, who makes his home in the ancient trees of Papua New Guinea’s cloud forest.
To get to this isolated paradise, follow scientist Lisa Dabeck, author Sy Montgomery, photographer Nic Bishop and a whole crew of international and local explorers up a steep mountain to a place that blooms with moss and teems with life. And while it’s not an easy trek, this tight-knit team rallies and supports one another, reminding us that the power of people working together toward a common goal is vast and unflagging.
Lisa can’t wait for the chance to see another tree kangaroo up close. On this expedition, the team hopes to find, capture, study and release as many Matschie’s as possible, now outfitted with radio collars, back into the wilderness. So little is known about these rare tree kangaroos that every bit of information is groundbreaking. What do they eat? How many are left in the wild? And how can we help them to survive?
Lisa revels in the surroundings and her subject. “This is the miracle of doing work here,” she says as the trackers find, nestled in the leafy canopy, the first adult male tree kangaroo ever to be fitted with a radio collar. There are more questions than answers out here in the field, but every encounter with a Matschie’s adds new information to the study.
Nic Bishop’s astounding photographs show what Sy Montgomery so vividly recounts, taking readers deep into the tree kangaroo’s magical, mystical habitat and, through Lisa and her fellow scientists, sharing both the extraordinary and everyday aspects of what it means to do conservation science in the bush.