- Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park, located in Australia's Northern Territory, contains nearly 20,000 square kilometers of natural, geological, and archaeological treasures. There are so many valuable pieces of Australia's ecological and cultural history in the park that it was placed in its entirety on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992. The word "Kakadu" itself is a misspelling of "gaagudju", an Aboriginal language. The park has been home to Indigenous Aboriginal people for thousands of years, and contains many detailed rock paintings which provide insight into how life was at the site long ago. The rock art at Nanguluwur, Ubirr, and Burrunguy are very well preserved examples.
A vast array of remarkable wildlife live in the park, including over 280 types of birds, approximately 60 species of mammals, 10,000 insect species, and over 50 kinds of freshwater animals. Kangaroos, wallabies, bandicoots, dingoes, finches, the red goshawk, partridge pigeon, geese, frill-necked lizard, and goanna are just a few of the many animals residing in the park. There are over 1,700 species of flora within Kakadu National Park, and each of the park's distinct geographical regions has its own specialized plants. Some of the plant species found there include the lotus flower, freshwater mangrove tree, white snowflake waterlily, spear grass, and the kapok tree.
There are several types of landforms in the area, the most prominent being lowlands, estuaries, floodplains, the outliers, the stone country, and the southern hills and basins. The Arnhem Plateau, part of the stone country, is one of the most well-known landforms in Kakadu National Park and is also the only place where one can find a species of tree called Allosyncarpia ternata, also known as the An-binik. Jim Jim Falls and the Mamukala wetlands are also prominent land features in the park. Four major rivers -- the East and West Alligator Rivers, South Alligator River, and Wildman River -- flow through Kakadu National Park and change according to the area's wet and dry seasons. Kakadu National park also surrounds the Ranger Uranium Mine, which is among the most uranium-rich sites on Earth.
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