Looking out for black wallaroos

Burrungguy – Nourlangie Rock – a spectacular sight in Kakadu National Park.

Burrungguy – Nourlangie Rock – a spectacular sight in Kakadu National Park.

One of the places that I really enjoy as a Kakadu seasonal ranger is Gun-warddehwardde Lookout, at Nourlangie art site.

Gun-warddehwardde means ‘many rocks’ in Gunjeihmi, a local Aboriginal language. Each morning the sun lights up the face of Burrungguy (Nourlangie Rock) – it’s spectacular – and there are also great views across to the Arnhem Land escarpment. Seasonal rangers give interpretive talks at the lookout in the morning and afternoon from May until October.

Djukerre — black wallaroo — with her joey. Photo:Gary Scott

Djukerre — black wallaroo — with her joey | Photo by Gary Scott

Sometimes visitors are lucky enough  to encounter black wallaroos. Black wallaroos are the smallest species of wallaroo and are endemic (found nowhere else on earth) to the stone country of Kakadu and Arnhem Land. They are not particularly common and can be somewhat wary of people, but the area around Burrungguy is  one of the best places to see one. Males are jet black and called ‘Barrk’ (in Gunjeihmi), while the female is grey with black paws and is called ‘Djukerre’.

In early July, I came across a Djukerre with a joey in her pouch and snapped this photo. Yesterday I saw her again. She was still carrying around her offspring — though the load had become a little heavier in the interim! Barrk can be a little harder to spot but you’ll occasionally see them jumping around the rocks — keep your eyes open!

Gary Scott
Seasonal ranger

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