Important research has been conducted, and continues to occur, so that we can better understand Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies, the way they live and how we can better protect them to ensure their longevity through future generations.
Our research helps us to learn more about the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, their habitat, diet, behaviours and the types of predators they face. We need to understand these animals and the way they live in order to protect them and ensure their long term survival.
The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby ranges from Queensland to Victoria, roughly following the line of the Great Divide. The southernmost population in NSW is in the Shoalhaven, while the Warrumbungle Ranges are home to the westernmost population.
The Shoalhaven Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby protection program was started in the Kangaroo Valley area in 1995. At this time, it was estimated there were only 30 to 60 Rock-wallabies remaining in the Shoalhaven.
June of 1998 saw the program receive joint funding from Environment Australia with a similar Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby program in the Hunter Valley region. This funding continued through to March 2001, with a focus on determining the effect of 1080 fox control on both the fox and Rock-wallaby populations.
The Shoalhaven Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Protection Program
The South Coast region of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) began the Shoalhaven Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Protection Program in 1995. The species was listed as vulnerable at the time and known to be in decline throughout much of its range. A survey of Rock-wallaby distribution in parts of southern New South Wales in 1995 identified the Kangaroo Valley area as an important stronghold for Rock-wallabies in southern NSW. It was recommended that a 1080 fox baiting program be instigated in order to reduce predation pressure on the Rock-wallabies and to aid Rock-wallaby survival and population growth. This program was commenced in the Kangaroo Valley area in 1995. At this time, it was estimated that there were between 30 to 60 Rock-wallabies remaining in the Shoalhaven.
In the Kangaroo Valley area, Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby colonies are located primarily on private property. This provided the opportunity for the community to become involved in Rock-wallaby management in the Shoalhaven. NPWS encouraged landholders to conduct 1080 fox baiting on their lands with NPWS supplying equipment, training and supervision. Where landholders were supportive but not interested in conducting their own baiting, NPWS sought permission to conduct baiting for them. NPWS also began fox baiting on NPWS land in the area as well as Crown Land and Sydney Catchment Authority land.
In June 1998 the Rock-wallaby program received joint funding from Environment Australia with a similar Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby program in the Hunter Valley region. The funding continued through to March 2001. A major aim of this joint program was to determine the effect of 1080 fox control on both the fox and Rock-wallaby populations. Consistent monitoring of the fox and Rock-wallaby populations in the baited area (Kangaroo Valley) and in an adjacent unbaited area (Illaroo) commenced in June 1998.
The results of the surveying efforts indicate that between 1998 and 2001, the abundance of Rock-wallabies in the baited colonies declined at a significantly slower rate and fox numbers were significantly lower compared to those in the unbaited area. It is possible that the reduced fox densities in the baited area resulted in the slower decline of Rock-wallaby numbers in this area. Nevertheless, Rock-wallaby numbers were considered necessary to ensure their survival. As a result, the baiting strategy was reviewed in 2001 with the aim of improving the effectiveness of fox control. Following the review, a number of private properties (where fox baiting was expected to dramatically improve colony protection) were targeted for inclusion in the baiting program. Fox baiting was also extended to the Illaroo area (previously unbaited site) in April 2002.
In 2001, the NSW Fox Threat Abatement Plan (Fox TAP) was produced to address the impact of predation by the Red Fox on threatened species. This plan identified Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies as one of a suite of threatened species most likely to be impacted by fox predation and thus a high priority for the assistance of fox control. The plan also identified the Shoalhaven area as one of a dozen priority sites in NSW. The Shoalhaven BTRW Protection program continues on today as one of the Fox TAP funded sites, with regular fox baiting, and fox and Rock-wallaby monitoring. Our results are being compared with the results gained from the other Fox TAP priority sites across the state.
Help protect these endangered little Aussie rock-stars through a $60 symbolic adoption.
Your generous donation is very important to us, to help preserve a threatened species.
Your support helps preserve, protect and recover our local Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby population.
Help keep us running so that we can help our Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby colonies recover.