"All the World's a Stage We Pass Through" R. Ayana

Friday 1 September 2006

Drop Bear Lives

Drop Bear Lives


In decades of visiting, exploring and living on the rainforest fringe, strange and wonderful creatures have occasionally made themselves visible. During years of fauna and flora surveys in endangered forests here in Australia, it became obvious how the planet we share is little known and understood; we’re willing to destroy places that have never been explored, pretending to assume there’s nothing there of which we’re unaware. Over the years, four unknown ‘higher-order’ animals have shown themselves to me. 

            This month a fifth creature briefly appeared out of the unknown darkness. Driving home on a cloudy, coal-mine Sunday night, no moon in the sky, a strange black panther was thrown into the light of my headlights. Standing on the verge at a bend of the road, the size of a large dog, it stood on the tips of its toes and turned its snub-nosed, sabre-toothed face toward me; yellow-amber orbs glared. An incredibly long, bushy tail – longer than the body - curved up behind, a bulbous appendage hanging at its tip. And all a glossy jet-black. 

            It was impossible to wake the seven-year-old in the passenger seat of the four-wheel drive. Then the animal sprang into the bush and disappeared.

Extinct Marsupial Lion

            It was a giant, black quoll – a small ‘marsupial lion’ – sighted over and again by many people for centuries, yet believed to be extinct for millennia. Having heard of the mysterious ‘black panther’ for decades eye finally saw one – for perhaps ten seconds. Nocturnal and black, it has eluded modern humans to this day. Knowing the habits of the smaller, cat-sized Quoll eye was glad not to be standing beside it.

            If you’ve ever camped out at night with a group in this country it’s likely you’ve heard the fireside yarn of the mythical ‘Drop Bear’ – a good reason why you shouldn’t venture far from camp. The Drop Bear is said to hang from trees at night and drop on any unsuspecting wayfarer, tearing them limb from limb and devouring their remains. 

            Drop Bear Lives!

 (Small) Spotted-tailed quolls

- R.Ayana

images - http://www.knowyoursto.com/images/marsupials/Thylacoleo-carnifex-02.jpg
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