Since late 2019, local bush fires had been affecting many parts of the state with widespread devastation. On the 4th of January, the Currowan fire crept into Kangaroo Valley after spreading from north Nowra. Unfortunately, the Currowan fire wiped out one of three colonies of the brush-tailed rock-wallaby found in Kangaroo Valley.
Monitoring cameras in the habitat of our brush-tailed rock-wallabies recorded temperatures well over 70 degrees Celsius. Despite the grim outlook during these fires, the Friends still had hope that the brush-tailed rock-wallabies would have found refuge amongst their rocky habitat.
Despite the devastation that took hold of one of the BTRW colonies in Kangaroo Valley, camera photos retrieved showed some promising news.
All adult brush-tailed rock-wallabies were found to have survived*. Furthermore at least half of all joeys that were currently being monitored were also found to have survived.
* Unfortunately, due to the bushfires, sometime after two female adult BTRW succumbed to injuries. At the time, it was in the interest of the Friends and the team from NPWS to capture and provide veterinary treatment but were unable to do so.
A Call To Action
Our team within the Friends put together an action plan to help our brush-tailed rock-wallabies recover from these devastating fires. The recovery plan was put together in collaboration with the team from Save Our Species (SOS), and National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS).
Since January, the aim of the Friends has been to provide food to the colonies of BTRW that were affected by the Currowan bushfire. This entailed regular food drops to each colony to boost survival rates. Additionally, the Friends aimed to replace any burnt out cameras. This meant that the Friends could continue monitoring the survival of the population.
For the next 12 months, the Friends plan to put into action a number of measures to sustain the brush-tailed rock-wallaby populations of Kangaroo Valley. Including but not limited to:
- Continuous BTRW monitoring, to assess populations and habitat regrowth. Monitoring cameras damaged during the fires were replaced under insurance provided by NPWS.
- Ongoing predator management in collaboration with local land holders.
- Weekly food drops to supplement feed due to limited food availability in the Creek Colony affected by the Currowan fire. Supplementry feed will include produce such as sweet potato and carrots.
Since January, many people within the community have donated their time and money to help the Friends of BTRW. The Friends have received many donations from organisations and individuals, and we would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support.