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Featured Wildlife Journeys

  • Tammar Wallaby

  • Australian Sea-lion

  • Short-beaked Echidna

  • Kangaroo Island Kangaroo

  • Glossy Black Cockatoo

Exceptional Kangaroo Island

Conservation Connection - Kangaroo Island

From: $3,150 USD

Duration: 3 days/ 2 nights

Type: Private Charter.

Departs: On Request

Interests: Land Mammals & Marsupials, Reptiles & Amphibians.

Venture out with some of Kangaroo Island's most respected researchers and conservation managers to gain an insight into key wildlife species, as well as enjoying the iconic landscapes and wildlife encounters the island is famous for.

  • Meet with Dr Peggy Rismiller who is the world expert on short-beaked echidnas – one of the world’s three egg-laying mammals. Over lunch, Peggy will share the results of 30 years investigating the lives of echidnas, goannas, tiger snakes and the broader ecology of Kangaroo Island.

  • Take a trip on the ocean with the team from Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures who assist in the citizen science conservation program ‘dolphin watch’ programme and learn about the visual recognition system used to track dolphin movement between pods.

  • Take an indepth look at the endemic Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-Cockatoo and the work being done to pull this large and atypically quiet cockatoo back from less than 120 individuals in 1995 to over 454 in 2020.

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 (1/4/2021) and may differ when you book your travel. Please contact us for our current pricing and itinerary details*

Itinerary

Tour day-by-day

  • Day 1: Echidnas & Dolphins

    Start the day with a visit to the Eucalyptus forest of the Cygnet Valley and learn about the ground-breaking habitat restoration programme at Cygnet Park which has turned former farming pastures back into diverse bushland.

    Guests will then meet with Dr Peggy Rismiller, the world expert on the Short-beaked Echidna.

    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.

    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.

    After lunch, guests will take a trip on the ocean with the team from Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures who assist in the citizen science conservation program ‘dolphin watch’ programme and learn about the visual recognition system used to track dolphin movement between pods. Depending on weather conditions and the activities of any dolphins we encounter, this experience can include a snorkel with bottle-nosed dolphins in the open ocean.

    Overnight Accommodation: There are various levels of accomodation available (3-5 star, farmstay, B&Bs). Please enquire to find out options.

  • Day 2: Glossy Black Cockatoos & Australian Sea-lions

    Guests start the day by taking an in-depth look into one of the island's famous avian residents, the Glossy Black-Cockatoo. These cockatoos are the sole remaining individuals of a population isolated by long-term climatic change which saw the drooping sheoak woodland (on which they depend exclusively for their food) retract to the coastal ranges of eastern Australia, leaving a small population on Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. They disappeared from the Fleurieu some time in the 1960s. 

    Numerically this link refers to a low of 158 individuals in 1995 up to 454 individuals in 2020. Guests will learn about some of the big issues for the species in the field including:

     - Habitat loss - both feeding (drooping sheoak) and breeding (large old Eucalyptus - sugar gum, red gum and SA blue gum mainly) habitat.

    - Expansion of Common Brush-tail Possums through retention of their habitat (any cover at all pretty much) and the development of highly nutritious pasture grasses. They are known to have eaten up to half of all eggs laid in a season or preying on nestlings in the hollows.

    - Genetic and physical isolation as the combination of millennial scale climate change saw their habitat retract to the Australian east coast resulted in the  Kangaroo Island population being “left behind”. 

    - Significant gender skew in the population with more males than females which adds to the challenge.

    We will also learn about volunteer activities to directly assist the cockatoos and if the timing is correct, provide the option to contribute. After taking a walk through the feeding habitat of these cockatoos which is also home to tammar wallabies, Kangaroo Island kangaroos, Rosenberg’s goanna, short-beaked echidna and many bird species, guests will visit Stokes Bay and do a scan for shorebirds as well as explore koala habitat nearby.

    After breaking for lunch, the group will travel to Seal Bay Conservation Park for a private tour of the Australian Sea-lion colony – one of the world’s rarest sea-lions. Here you have the chance to learn about the life of the sea-lions – the threats to their survival, their feeding excursions, and unique breeding biology. You will also learn about the management actions which are in place to try to protect this iconic species.

    Overnight Accommodation: There are various levels of accomodation available (3-5 star, farmstay, B&Bs). Please enquire to find out options.

     

  • Day 3: Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife

    We begin the day in the island’s north-west in an important private wildlife refuge with Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife. Here, we gain an insight into (and take part in) the fantastic conservation work being done by Pat, Heidi and their team, focussing on threat reduction, long-term monitoring, and supporting private land holders and volunteers to take care of the bushland and the threatened species taking refuge within these recovering critical habitats.

    Exceptional Kangaroo Island, have assisted to build shelter tunnels out of chicken wire and shade cloth, providing protection for small mammals and birds. There are 18 tunnels set across burnt landscapes to provide extra shelter for the Kangaroo Island dunnart and other priority species post fire.

    Guests will be taken into bushland survey sites and shown the shelter tunnels and the wildlife cameras, with the opportunity to view the footage captured to see some of the threatened species KI Land for Wildlife are working hard to protect, and assist by checking the 30m survey fence lines.

    Lunch is a picnic enjoyed in the bush and consists of marinated poached chicken, fresh salads, cheeses and fantastic South Australian wine, beer, soft drinks and spring water.

    Travellers will venture to the southwest end of the Island where Flinders Chase National Park covers nearly 75,000 hectares (almost 200,000 acres), where the landscape is dominated by coastal mallee and the "bonsai Eucalyptus”.

    These winds have carved out a natural sculpture park from solid granite tors, with the highlight being the aptly named Remarkable Rocks. The high vantage point provides an opportunity to look for oceanic bird species (Pacific Gulls, Australasian Gannets and Short-tailed Shearwaters during the warmer months) as the low heath often reveals Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters, Southern Emu Wrens and seasonally, the incessant call of the Western Whipbird.

    Admirals Arch provides a spectacular hangout for up to three pinnipeds, namely the Long-nosed Fur Seal, Australian Fur Seals as well as occasional Australian Sea-lion. 

    At the days end, guests spend some time gaining an understanding of the earliest human occupation of the Island, including what Indigenous Australians survived or even thrived on across the Island – a selection of items foraged, hunted and fished from the local environment.

    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. 

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