The Daintree Rainforest, one of the oldest rainforests in the world, is part of the Wet Tropics of North Queensland, Australia. This 1200 square kilometer, or approximately 500 square mile, rainforest is home to 3000 plant species. This region “contains 30 percent of Australia's frog, marsupial and reptile species, 65 percent of Australia's bat and butterfly species and 20 percent of the bird species,” according to the Daintree Discovery Center, the rainforest’s interpretive facility. Of these, 700 plants and 70 animals exist only in northeast Queensland and nowhere else in the world.
Mammals found nowhere else in the ...view middle of the document...
The Wet Tropics Management Authority reported that in 2002, "population numbers of the Southern Cassowary...appear to be in decline with estimates of fewer than 1,500 adult cassowaries remaining in the Wet Tropics bioregion. Cassowary conservation is vital as they play an essential role in sustaining a functioning forest ecosystem."
Twelve bird species, including the Macleay's and Bridled Honeyeaters, Pied Monarch and Victoria's Riflebird are found only in Australia. Other birds in the Daintree are the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Little Kingfisher and several other Kingfisher species, the Great-billed Heron, Black Bittern, Lovely Fairy-wren, Fruit pigeons, Mangrove Robin, Double-eyed Fig Parrot and Red-necked Crake.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Daintree reptiles include geckoes, skinks, turtles and snakes. The tiny Thornton Peak skink lives only on the rainforest's Thornton Range and feeds on insects and leaf litter. The large salt-water crocodile grows to six meters or almost 20 feet long and lives in the swamps, estuaries and beaches of the coastal rainforest.
Most snakes that live in the Daintree are venomous, including the death adder, the Taipan and the Amethystine python, the largest Australian python that grows to nearly 23 feet long and eats warm-blooded animals it kills by suffocation.
The northern leaf-tailed gecko has rough skin and spiky scales and is found only in Australia.
Boyd's forest dragon, a lizard nearly two feet long, has a line of curved spikes down its back.
Tree frogs live in moist, dark places in the rainforest and eat...