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Chronicles 4/21

Travels Down Under:
Narooma to Batesman Bay and Beyond, Counting Dead Kangaroo

Thursday, April 21, 2011
* Narooma to Batesman Bay, New South Wales, Australia *

Breakfast at the Narooma YHA, Sir Thomas Leaf sadly said goodbye to his new German friend as he and Sir Bluey Bee set off for last bit of wanderings around Narooma, sadly saying goodbye to his piece of Australian paradise. Sir Bluey took Sir Thomas a wandering to view some more geological formations on the beaches as they headed up towards Batesman Bay. En route, Sir Bluey took Sir Thomas to a beach for a swim while he went a wandering for some last chances at fishing, again to no avail. They then bartered a bet for a cider as Sir Bluey claimed they would see dozens of dead kangaroos and wombats along the roadside, to which Sir Thomas challenged they wouldn’t see 5 from Batesman Bay to Canberra … and lo and behold, they only saw 3. They did check out them, and was glad to find out that road crews would check the fresh kills for babies in the pouch. Those checked would be spray painted with a large red “X”. They originally were going to meet up with couch surfer “Jungle Jane” but missed the connection as they were passing through Batesman Bay. Instead, they went down to the city park, fed the seagulls fries and had their last fish n’ chips at the Bay Marlin before heading inland. En route, Sir Bluey showed Sir Thomas one of his favorite forests … and before dark, they returned to Canberra.

[ Chronicles: Back to Canberra ]

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Kangaroo: Macropus sp.

Kangaroo

Taxonomy: Animalia; Chordata; Mammalia; Marsupialia; Diprotodontia; Macropodidae; Macropus; Macropus and Osphranter

Common Names: Kangaroo, gangurru, boomers, jacks, old men, bucks, does, flyers, jills, joeys, roos

Localities: Native to Australia. Some relatives in New Guinea.

Description:

One of the unique critters of Australia, A marsupial that is native to the Down Under and an infamous animal/symbol of Australia. Kangaroos belong to the Macropodidae family and consists of numerous species. The name comes from the Guugu Yimithirr word “gangurru” that is used by the Aboriginee for “Grey Kangaroos”. The term “kangaroo” was first used by Captain James Cook on the banks of the Endeavor River near “Cooktown” where the HM Bark Endeavor was beached on the Great Barrier Reef for seven weeks early August 1770. Some claim that Cook asked a aboriginee the name of this intriguing animals and the individual said “Kangaroo” which was interpreted through time to mean “I don’t understand you” but has since been proven to be a false myth according to linguist John Haviland in the 70’s. The males are called “boomers”, “jacks”, “old men”, and “bucks” while the females are called “does”, “flyers”, or “jills” and the infants are called “joeys”. When grouped together they are called a “mob”, “court”, or “troop” of kangaroo. They are often nicknamed “roos”. A mammal that is found throughout Australia it has a few related species that can be found in New Guinea as well, some of which are endangered. This amazing animal is important and endemic to Australia and its culture. They have been described by many Europeans as strange creatures that stand upright like humans, have a deer head without antlers, but hop around like frogs. They originally were seen as a myth until Australia became inhabited by Westerners who verified their existence. The first Kangaroo to be shot by a Westerner and exhibited to European culture was by one of Captain Cook’s officer’s by the name of John Gore in 1770. The Kangaroo’s iconography can be found on the currency, coat of Arms, emblems, and airlines. There are four main species: The Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) which is the largest existing marsupial in the world); The Eastern Gray Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus); The Western Gray Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus); and the Antilopine Kangaroo (Macropus antilopinus). The animla has large powerful hind legs adapted for leaping with a long tail for balance (only mammal known to use hopping for locomotion and clocked upwards of 20-25 to a max of 70 km/hour). The females of the species have a marsupial “marsupium” which is a pouch where the infants finish their post-natal development. Their average life span is 6 years in the wild and 20 years under captivity. They are an herbivore feasting primarily on grasses or shrubs yet unlike other herbivores do not release methane gas. Some smaller species feast on hypogeal fungi. A good percentage of them are nocturnal. They are known to have complex social structures and interactions with one another such as touching and sniffing one another. They usually mate in pairs. Female kangaroos are usually pregnant in permanence except the day of birth but can “freeze” the development of an embroyo until the current infant is ready to leave the pouch. The egg descends from the ovary to the uterus where it is fertilized and developes into a neonate that emerges within 33 days, with one young born at a time where it gestates in the pouch for upwards of 190-235 days until it can leave the pouch. Before copulation the male monitors the female, sniffs her urine, follows her every move, approaches her slowly and if not scaring the female will paw, lick, and scratch at her before engaging copulation. After a long intercourse and consort pairing that can take several days, the male moves on to another female. Male aggression between one another occurs frequently and usually results in “boxing” matches. These fights can be brief or long and ritualized usually involving fighting over a woman or a feeding/drinking spot. Sometimes punching, grabbing of the opponent’s neck, locking of forearms, and wrestling will take place until one of them breaks off and retreats from the fight. Their sharp hindlegs can dis-embowel an opponent. Oddly, after the fight, the males often scratch and groom one another. They are often shy and curious about humans. During a disease in 2004 that was similar to “rabies”, there were a few unprovoked attacks on humans by kangaroos. In 2003, an Eastern Grey kangaroo alerted a farmer’s family to his location after he was injured by a fallen tree branch. This Kangaroo received a National Animal Valor award in 2004 for this feat. Outside of humans and dingos, Kangaroos have few predators still alive. Sometimes foxes, dogs, and feral cats can threaten kangaroos. They were once hunted by the (now extinct) thylacine, marsupial lion, Megalania, and the Wonambi. Kangaroos are a menace to vehicles especially at night similiar to incidents in North America with “Deer” or “antelope”. They become dazzled by the headlights and car noises often causing them to leap out in front of the travelling vehicle causing a severe impact that can destroy small vehicles and damage sufficiently larger ones. Kangaroos that are hit along the roadside as “road kill” have their pouches checked for “joeys” and often a large spray-painted red “X” is put on the kangaroo to denote that the pouch has been checked.

Uses:
Kangaroo is used for hide, leather, fur, cooking, and meat. Kangaroos are not farmed for meat, but are hunted for meat, hides, sport, and to regulate grazing lands. The meat of the kangaroo has numerous health and environmental benefits over traditional meats and described as having a stronger wild meat flavor.

Culinary:
See our culinary and article about Kangaroo Meat here: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2218.

Medicinal:
The tender meat is very high in protein and low in fat (less than 2%), has a very high concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is well known to be anti-carcinogenic and anti-diabetes, reduces obesity, and atherosclerosis.

Folklore and Magical Uses:
Traditionally it was used by the Aboriginees for meat, bone, and tendons. The scrotum was sometimes stuffed as a ball for the football game of “marngrook”.

Article/research by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie.com – August 2011.

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04.11.11: Chronicles: The Great Walkabout: Off to the National Capital – Canberra

Travels Down Under:
Journey to Canberra

Monday, April 11, 2011
* Brisbane, Queensland, Australia – Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia *

Sir Thomas Leaf awoke at 3:00 am as he had fallen asleep at 4:30 pm after his 24 hour flight on the Qantas air-dragon across the Pacific Ocean and needed the adjustment to the time zones around the globe. Early awake, he stumbled into the elevator only to jump back as the “Great White Shark” in the bottom of the elevator shocked his groggy self only to realize it was simply a mural. Down to reception he inquired if he could print out his airline ticket and onwards to the Internet Kiosk to arrange his next journey. The guy at reception didn’t charge him since it was only one page. On the 2nd floor he found a community TV lounge open where he could do some scanning and internet while awaiting the main “Beach” lounge to open at 5 am. Preparations for his trip, by 7:30 am he was out the door of the hostel, hiking down High Roma Street, to the Airtrain station for his ride back to the Brisbane International Airport though would unload one stop further at the Domestic Airport. Re-allocating weight and checking into Virgin Blue, he checked both bags and carried his satchel and camera through security. Grabbing a chai (which wasn’t all that common in Australia at coffee shops but they had the powder) and on to a wing where construction was amiss and no internet signal. They changed his gate 10 minutes before boarding time but “no worries” as he got on the plane in no time. A few hour flight on a small plane across a section of Australia, and Sir Thomas Leaf was landing in the Country’s Capital “Canberra”.

Down to luggage, which arrived safely, Sir Thomas Leaf was just getting his packs ready when Sir Bluey of the Bee Tribe greeted him holding a mini Australian and American flags. Now Sir Thomas has never met Sir Bluey in person, as he was introduced to him by means of mutual friends Sir Chrispy and Lady Sheila of the Colorado Plains online through the cosmic oracular interface known as “Facebook”. As Sir Bluey had offered to be host to Sir Thomas on his Walkabout Quest. A humorous eccentric man of wit and charm, the pair was a match for this leg of the adventure. He would be sir Leaf’s guide and tracker across the Australian Bush in the Australian Capital Territory. They drove through Canberra on to Isabella Plains where they were on the hunt for kangaroos and wombats. The first spotting of a kangaroo couple was quickly made in Pine Island reserve. Eucalyptus trees aplenty the forests during a hike was medicinally fragrant. On to Sir Bluey Bee’s ranch, he treated Sir Thomas Leaf to a grilled cheese Brevilles. They then went on to the adventurer’s supply shop to purchase a camp stove and fuel for their upcoming quest along the Australian coast. Enroute, they popped into a butcher shop so that Sir Thomas could try kangaroo. However, they did not have any on display. Sir Bluey asked the butcher if he had any kangaroo and he said he’d check in the back to see if he had some. Sir Thomas was just imagining him putting the steroid infused ground beef into a package slapped on with a kagaroo meat label – but the butcher came back and said he had none. Said it wasn’t asked for much, mostly aboriginee’s eat it. Too wild game taste for many. He suggested Woolworth’s would have it. Sure enough, the delvers found the kangaroo meat (only marinated which the butcher said to avoid) at Woolworth’s and bought a couple steaks. On to Sir Bluey’s ranch and they fried up the steaks for both Sir Bluey’s and Sir Thomas Leaf’s first kangaroo. Sir Bluey’s son and roommate also tried it even though they were hesitant at first to try something they never thought to try. After dinner, Sir Bluey took Sir Thomas for a rideabout for more kangaroo sightings and perhaps a chance to see a platypus around Point Hut River. The Duo had internet difficulties connecting that night, so an early evening was had.


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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, Colorado)


Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

http://www.cmzoo.org/ * 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road * Colorado Springs, CO 80906 * (719) 633-9925

One of Colorado Spring’s hotspots of activity. Nestled on the slopes of Cheyenne Mountain, just below the infamous “Gold Camp Road” and Buddhist temple, snug in the middle of elegant housing communities just above the richy-rich Broadmoor, is a pretty elaborate zoo that allows close spaces in getting to know the animals. 146 mountainous acres with close to 800 animals of every variety. Also has a skyride and a restaurant. Originally founded in 1926 by philanthropist Spencer Penrose to house his growing collection of exotic animals that originally started out south of town where Fort Carson’s Turkey Creek Ranch now exists. In 1938 the zoo was established as a non-profit public trust for the people of Colorado Springs to “provide recreation, education, conservation and scientific facilities in the field of zoology and related subjects, and to preserve the Zoo in perpetuity for the people of the Pikes Peak region.” The zoo goes out of their way to make each attendee an active participant. Many of the animal areas for the animals that aren’t threatening to humans, are open-aired with little to no fences like the kangaroos, the giraffe’s, peacocks, and other critters. A little pricey but a wonderful experience. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

































































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