Stories in this Theme

What it looks like: The Loggerhead Turtle has the largest head of all sea turtles found in Northern Territory waters. Adults can also be identified from their reddish-brown shells that have five large scutes along either side. Hatchlings have dark brown shells and light brown underbellies. They leave asymmetrical tracks in the sand because of their loping gait.

What it looks like: Emus are huge flightless birds with long legs and necks. They can grow to nearly 2 metres tall. Their shaggy plumage can vary in colour from pale greyish brown to greyish buff with black spots. Young Emus are striped dark brown over a buff-coloured down.

What it looks like: Australian Sugar Palm is a multi-stemmed palm that can grow up to 16 metres tall, and produces new suckers from the base of existing plants. Its 5 metre fronds have long strappy, pale green leaflets. It produces weeping clusters of fleshy pink fruit.

What it looks like: This small Ground Orchid has fleshy, creeping stems, each with three to seven oval leaves. Its dull green and white flowers barely open to display themselves. A perennial plant, it is adapted to extremes of wet and dry conditions. As the soil dries and hardens at the start of the dry season, resources are transferred from above ground parts to underground tubers.

Project Number: CY PA 08 - Wash Down Study

Project Name: Cape York Wash Down Facility Feasibility Study

Organisation: Cape York Peninsula Development Association

What it looks like: This large marine mammal can grow to 18 m long. Mostly black, it is white on its chin, belly and flippers. Clusters of tubercles make it look barnacle-encrusted. Its spectacular displays include launching its body out of the ocean, then crashing down on the water surface, and raising its broad tail flukes above the water in repeated dives.

Fire management: an uncertain science

Cattle graziers would like to think that if they look after their pastures and keep weeds and pest animals under control, the rest of the environment can look after itself. To some extent this makes sense; particularly in the rangelands where paddocks still contain reasonable tree cover, and where maintaining the native grass species is as important to cattle as it is to wildlife.

Alex Kutt wants to teach people to look at landscapes differently. "When pastoralists look across their country, they see whether there is enough grass and water for the cattle. It doesn’t take much to convince them to do the same for native wildlife." But first they need to know what species are found on their property and the essentials to keeping the wildlife fit and healthy.