WHEN people tell you they are going "spotlighting" you probably envisage something very different to what environmental advocate Greg Clancy is doing.

Mr Clancy recently started a new business in the Clarence Valley where he takes people on spotlighting tours of local National Parks.

But the intent is far friendlier for the animals.

Mr Clancy took his first troop carrier full of people on a safari in the Washpool National Park, near the Gibraltar Ranges, on Tuesday night.

The group saw greater gliders, which are the largest of the gliding possums, a tawny frogmouth bird, which Mr Clancy said looks similar to an owl but isn't, and a number of parma wallabies.

"The story of the parma wallabies is very interesting," Mr Clancy said.

"Because they were thought to be extinct at one point before large popula- tions were discovered in the high country between the Wattigans in the south and the Washpool National Park in the north."

Mr Clancy said the wallabies were abundant when Europeans first arrived in Australia.

But due to their docile nature the wallabies became an easy feed for early settlers in the Wollongong area who clubbed and ate them.

Eventually the southern populations were thought to be wiped out until two were found dead by a road near Dorrigo and sent to the Australian Museum in Sydney, in the 1930s.

The wallabies are nocturnal, so sightings are very rare.

The other interesting sighting, the tawny frog mouth, is not an owl because it has weak feet, Mr Clancy said.

"In fact its scientific name actually means weak foot," Mr Clancy said.

He said the birds are related to night jars and use their beaks for hunting, unlike owls which use their feet.