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Exceptional Kangaroo Island

Behind the Scenes with Researchers: Echidnas

From: $495 USD

Duration: Full Day: Kangaroo Island

Type: Private Charter.

Departs: On Request

Interests: Land Mammals & Marsupials, Reptiles & Amphibians.

Venture out with the world's expert on Echidnas!

  • Dr Peggy Rismiller (OAM) is a global citizen, having spent significant proportions of her life in the United States of America, Germany and most recently, since emigrating in 1988, on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

  • Her experience and knowledge is vast, being an Environmental Physiologist, Educator, Author and Artist along with being the principal (with her partner Mike McKelvey), at a privately-funded off-grid environmental research hub called the Pelican Lagoon Research and Wildlife Centre.

  • Here she pursues interests in environmental physiology, circadian rhythms, body temperature regulation, reproductive physiology and ecology. Although conducting her early research on reptiles, she is best known for her work with the Short-beaked Echidna, a species which, despite her best efforts, is still quite poorly understood.

  • This privately organised 'behind the scenes' tour provides special access to the vital research projects being undertaken at Pelican Lagoon Research and Wildife Centre.

About Exceptional Kangaroo Island: 

Craig and Janet Wickham and their enthusiastic team have been sharing Kangaroo Island's secrets with guests since 1990 and have won numerous national and international awards for their tours. The family-owned operator specialises in deluxe wildlife tours which create an atmosphere where guests find themselves treated as friends, with tours run as a conversation not a commentary, promising good food, good wine and wildlife in the wild.

Price per person travelling with four passengers, including touring & meals. Pricing is subject to availability and all prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change without notice. Currency fluctuations may affect prices as quotes based on AUD. Prices are current at time of posting (9/9/2019) and may differ when you book your travel. Please contact us for our current pricing and itinerary details**


Tour day-by-day

  • Behind the Scenes Tour with Dr Peggy Rismiller

    As early as the 1830’s there were seven questions posed about echidnas which are fundamental to understanding their biology, ecology and behaviour and are critical for conservation management of the species for its’ long-term survival. At the time Peggy started working with echidnas, only two of these had been partially addressed.

    For nearly 30 years now Peggy has been working with echidnas in the field using a variety of methods and technologies including marking, radio-tracking, scat collection and analysis, and year-round collection of environmental parameters, to try to determine answers to the following questions:

    - How and how often do echidnas mate?
    - What is the gestation period?
    - What is the breeding success rate and survival percentages?
    - How long do echidnas live?
    - What density do they live in and how many are there in the wild?
    - How old are they before they mate?
    - What is their diet?

    Slowly a picture has emerged of these fascinating creatures which have existed for some 120 million years and Dr Peggy Rismiller has become known as the global expert for the species - she is the “go to” person for Sir David Attenborough on all things echidna!

    Whilst echidnas are the core focus of Peggy’s work, she also looks at tiger snakes, goannas, weed and feral animal impacts, little penguins, biosecurity, fire ecology as well as environmental management through membership of the Kangaroo Island Natural Resource Management Board.

    Peggy is also a member of the burgeoning Kangaroo Island Art Community. Peggy has a variety of external roles including as a Visiting Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide Department of Anatomical Sciences, is a Visiting Lecturer at the Hannover School of Veterinary Science in Germany (she speaks fluent German), has literally written “the book” on echidnas and is widely published in popular and scientific magazines and journals.

    She is a consultant to a range of International zoos and her work has been recognised with the International Earthwatch Award for Climate Change Research. Dr Rismiller conducts international lecture tours, workshops on wildlife care and rehabilitation, assists other researchers through offering year-round data collection under contract, supervises graduate students from around the world and importantly is a great role model for young women and actively encourages greater female participation in scientific research.

    Key Details

    Private Group Size: Maximum of 6 guests
    Pick-up and Drop Off Point: Kingscote Airport or accommodations.
    Pick-up and Drop-off Time: Approximately 9:00am and 6:00pm.
    Languages: Translation services available for French, German, Italian and Spanish.

    Responsible Tourism

    As part of our commitment to sustainability we have developed a Code Of Practice relating to our wildlife interactions which is available for your reference. We have also sought independent verification of our practices through Ecotourism Australia. Our Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation is awarded to a select number of Australia's leading and most innovative ecotourism products, providing an opportunity to learn about the environment with an operator who is committed to achieving best practice when using resources wisely, contributing to the conservation of the environment and helping local communities.


    Recent Awards

    WINNER TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2018 • 2017 • 2016 • 2015 • 2014 • 2013
    LISTED Top 5 Wildlife Guides by Outside Go Magazine 2015
    WINNER Outstanding Contribution to the Tourism Export Industry 2015 by the Australian Tourism Export Council 


    Recent Testimonials

    "Amazing tour that exceeded all expectations. The guide was unbelievably knowledgeable and showed us some of the great parts of KI. Best day of our honeymoon, just because of this tour. Thanks!" - David and Lucy, UK

    "My trip got me to visit six states, albeit briefly in some. The two days of Kangaroo Island were the highlights. The very high quality of the tour for small groups, riding in backroads with knowledgable guides who are also competent chefs in a unique setting is a memorable experience." - Myron, Ontario

    "This family owned tour operator is the best I have ever taken a tour with! The guide was enthusiastic, humorous and very informed about every question asked– considering wildlife, culture and geographical situation. As it was a small tour - he made me (and the fellow couple on the tour) feel very special. Exceptional Kangaroo Island truly kept their promise – good food (delicious whiting cooked on the barbeque), good wine (beautiful sauvignon blanc from the island) and wildlife in the wild (we saw a wide range of animals from kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, an echidna, wedge-tailed eagles to ants, butterflies, and all sorts of insects). I can only highly recommend this business. I will be back to take another tour with you – maybe next year?! Thanks Janet & Craig and the exceptional friendly office staff." - Manja, Berlin

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