Our first poo photo is what was produced by an emu and is full of Sandalwood seeds
Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) was once common across south-west Western Australia but was harvested extensively – with the trees being ripped out or the ground, roots and all, by camels, horses and trucks. So in many areas it is now rare.
Much of the Sandalwood on Charles Darwin Reserve suffered the same fate and few are left. But emus like to eat the seeds and are dispersing them across the landscape from the remaining trees.
Sandalwood is hemiparasitic, which means that when seeds germinate their roots seek out those of other plants and tap into them for nutrients and sugars.
So only seeds that land in just the right spot will survive to become adult trees. However, as the emus wander about they're clearly lobbing their droppings in the right places because we're now seeing a plenty of seedlings across the reserve .
Sheep, goats and rabbits were preventing regeneration but we've removed/substantially reduced their populations now, so not only Sandalwood but all the other plant species on the reserve are recovering nicely – all made possible by generous donations from both our supporters and the emus