Eric Krohn and Clinton Carty are the managers of Chakoro P/L, the owner of a property of the same name situated in Carmoo, approximately 140km south of Cairns, Queensland. The property is a home and wildlife-friendly sanctuary, with an 8-hectare area set aside for research into the viability of various tropical fruit trees for commercial production and local food security, as well as a source of tropical plant species for local private landholders.
Eric and Clinton are interested in establishing more sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment and throughout the farming community as a whole. They acquired the property, zoned for agriculture, with the intent of protecting the significant habitat linkages within the block. 12 hectares of the property has been protected under a Nature Refuge agreement since 1996. Eric and Clinton maintain the natural values of the property primarily by controlling invasive plant species such as lantana (Lantana camara) and raspberry (Rubus idaeus); and feral species including dogs, cats and pigs.
Chakoro P/L spans 20 hectares and is situated in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Site, within the highest rainfall area. The property is adjacent to World Heritage listed areas and is bordered on three sides by the Hull River and Mount Mackay National Parks. The gently sloping landscape is situated just above sea level; lower areas are comprised of old-growth native vegetation and higher elevations are generally reserved for research and development of tropical fruit crops.
The property links a wide variety of complex habitats including a mangrove community backing on to the Hull River system, lowland melaleuca swamp, low tropical rainforest, vine thickets and tropical rainforest adjoining the Hull River National Park.
Vegetation is highly variable, ranging from swamp species such as lowland melaleuca, giant cycads, spiral pandanus (Pandanus spiralis) and razor grass (Gahnia spp.) to lowland wet tropical rainforest species including wait-a-while (Calamus australis) and barbed wire vines (Smilax australis), as well as a range of native yams, mosses, lianas and fungi.
Chakoro P/L is a known habitat of several endangered species including the southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius), mahogany glider (Petaurus gracilis) and several threatened frog species. Other native species present include little red (Pteropus scapulatus) and grey-headed (Pteropus poliocephalus) flying foxes, microbats, short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus), red-legged pademelons (Thylogale stigmatica), lace monitors (Varanus varius), tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus), carpet pythons (Morelia spilota), green tree snakes (Dendrelaphis punctulata), green tree frogs (Litoria caerulea), stony-creek frogs (Litoria wilcoxii) and Roth’s tree frogs (Litoria rothii). A range of insects including Ulysses (Papilio ulysses), Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion) and blue tiger (Tirumala limniace) butterflies and Hercules moths (Coscinocera hercules) are also found on the property, along with golden orb weavers (Nephila spp.), crab spiders and various jumping spiders.
A wide array of birdlife is present including Pacific emerald doves (Chalcophaps longirostris), Torres Strait pigeons (Ducula spilorrhoa), laughing kookaburras (Dacelo novaeguineae), sulphur-crested cockatoos (Cacatua galerita), Wompoo fruit doves (Ptilinopus magnificus), sunbirds, kingfishers, brush turkeys (Alectura lathami), orange-footed scrub fowl (Megapodius reinwardt), white-bellied sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster), brahminy kites (Haliastur indus) and ospreys.