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What’s so special about the Kangaroo Island kangaroo, and how did it get an island named after it?

Date: June 14, 2020

The KI kangaroo – some interesting facts

The Kangaroo Island naming story Matthew Flinders named Kangaroo Island in 1802 when, on landing on the north coast of the Island, the whole HMS Investigator crew was amazed by the number of kangaroos they have spotted. They were particularly delighted, as after four months of rations, the kangaroos provided a good source of protein. Flinders then noted in his journal that …”in gratitude for so seasonable a supply, I named this south land Kanguroo* Island”.

The original type specimen for the Western Grey Kangaroo The kangaroo on Kangaroo Island is the original type specimen for the Western Grey Kangaroo, whose range extends from Western Australia east to the Great Diving Range. It was recognised as a separate subspecies from the Western Grey kangaroo on the mainland, and was named Macropus fuliginosus ssp. fuliginosus.

Arguably the best-looking kangaroos They are smaller and more robust than the Western Grey kangaroos, with a tail, limbs and muzzle shorter, and jaw broader. Their fur is darker brown colour and is longer and thicker than the mainland species. Some may say they are the prettiest of kangaroos around 🙂

Roo lifestyle Kangaroo Island kangaroos spend much of the daylight hours sheltering in the native scrub. They are most active from late in the afternoon through to early morning, when they move out to graze on grass in open areas. They like hanging in groups, and we often see them in small family groups around Ecopia. Our guests love going for a wonder and watch the roos around the Retreat, and are delighted to be waking up to the sight of kangaroos grazing outside their window.

The most gentle and the quietest of kangaroos In 1925, Fredric Wood Jones, a British observational naturalist, anatomist and anthropologist, who spent considerable time in Australia wrote in his book (The Mammals of South Australia) that the Kangaroo Island kangaroo is “…the most gentle and the quietest of all its kind.” He advocated for its protection, in saying that it “… is an animal that South Australians should be proud of and do all in their power to protect and keep in perpetuity on its island sanctuary.” Previously hunted for food and the Adelaide skin market, nowadays the KI roo is a big part of the visitor experience on Kangaroo Island. A dedicated wildlife sanctuary, Ecopia is home to a strong and healthy local population of kangaroos, something that we cherish dearly.

(*yep, that’s how he spelt it in his journal).

Source: Natural Resources Kangaroo Island

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Ecopia Retreat acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, to the Elders past, present, and emerging.