Protecting the Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies
The Friends of the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby have been working hard to protect Rock-wallabies from introduced predators via a range of activities, including trapping and shooting, as well as supporting the work of the NPWS in baiting and monitoring predator cameras.
Why do Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies need protecting?
How do we protect the Rock-wallabies?
The Friends of the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby partner with NPWS to deliver an integrated, broad-scale program of predator control to help support these fragile colonies. Hover over each strategy to see our results.
The success of the Shoalhaven Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Recovery Program hinges on minimising predation of joeys, primarily by the introduced fox. Fox predation poses a serious threat to the survival of numerous other local native animal species and the benefits of fox control also extends to farmers and poultry owners.
Integrated, broad scale, cross-tenure fox control is the secret to the survival of the Shoalhaven Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies. Every joey we save from introduced predators is a step closer to a secure future for the iconic Kangaroo Valley’s Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies.
Extensive 1080 baiting, shooting and trapping across dozens of properties in the Kangaroo Valley, Budgong and Illaroo areas for over twenty-seven years has brought these local Kangaroo Valley populations back from the edge of extinction.
With your assistance the Friends contribute over $20,000 yearly to the integrated predator control program delivered by National Parks & Wildlife (NPWS) and since 2019, the Saving our Species (SoS) team, which targets predators via shooting and humane leg-hold trapping techniques across identified priority properties.
The result is in recent years an overall reduction in fox numbers being noted around the colonies thanks to the ongoing, sustained control efforts delivered by way of this partnership.
Contractors Dean and Troy Bagnall as well as LLS Mark Sobierajski are highly regarded for their fox and wild dog shooting and leg-hold trapping skills. They have been contracted by the Friends and NPWS for over fifteen years and are literally ’on-call’ to target foxes, feral cats and wild dogs that are observed in the vicinity of the Rock-wallaby colonies.
New 4G cameras located in strategic areas of River colony send photos of predator activity instantly to the SoS team and consequently on to the shooters, providing important information in real-time. These, combined with the IR cameras accomplish much of the predator monitoring.
Dean and Troy use fox whistles to lure foxes into cleared agricultural properties within our control area, whereby they can be spotlighted and targeted. Leg-hold trapping is employed as a secondary measure to target bait-shy foxes and wild dogs that pose a more immediate threat close to the Rock-wallaby habitat.
Another important component to this integrated predator control program is the servicing of 200 permanent fox and wild dog 1080 bait stations. This remains the primary method of fox and wild dog control as much of the area is covered in dense vegetation and therefore not amenable to shooting.
This bait program is delivered by NPWS, but only made possible by way of support from Local Land Services (LLS), Crown Lands, Water NSW, SoS program and the Friends. Bait stations are placed strategically across the Valley and are a key tool in helping to lower the numbers of foxes present in the landscape surrounding the colonies.
In addition, the Friends have helped finance the intensive monitoring of the Kangaroo Valley Rock-wallabies and predator activities by way of a network of Infra-Red (IR) cameras in conjunction with continued education and engagement of the local community in the importance of introduced predator control.
Personal observations of fox activity in the Kangaroo Valley/Budgong/Illaroo areas are helpful and should be entered into the Feral Scan app.
The NSW BTRW Recovery Team target is a minimum of 15 Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby adults per colony. It is expected that at this size, a colony will be able to survive occasional predation events resulting in the loss of individuals.
The ultimate target is 30 adults per colony, which is considered a base-level healthy self-sustaining size.
NPWS are monitoring BTRW on a 6-weekly basis across the two Kangaroo Valley colonies, using 20 remote cameras. The results over the past 5 years have seen a steady increase in the number of BTRW.
For more information, see the Best Practice Guidelines for Fox Control for the Conservation of Biodiversity from the NSW Dept of Planning and Environment.
What We've Achieved So Far
With the assistance of generous donors, the Friends have contributed $20,000+ directly to the integrated predator control program over the last five years. In just one year anywhere from 40-70 foxes have been removed from across 30 priority properties, with several wild dogs and feral cats also being taken out of the equation. Our professional contractors have to work hard to find foxes as we have significantly reduced their numbers over the last 20 years. Additional funding has been used to supplement the work undertaken by the Save our Species officers of NPWS and LLS who service 225 permanent fox/ wild dog 1080 bait stations, mostly within 5km of the two surviving Shoalhaven Rock-wallaby colonies.
In addition, the Friends have helped finance the intensive monitoring of the Kangaroo Valley Rock-wallabies and their predators through a network of IR cameras and continued educating and engagement of the local community in the importance of introduced predator control.
The NSW BTRW Recovery Team target is a minimum of 15 Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby adults per colony. It is expected that at this size, a colony will be able to survive occasional predation events resulting in the loss of individuals. The ultimate target is 30 adults per colony which is considered a base-level healthy self-sustaining size. NPWS are monitoring BTRW on a monthly basis across the three Kangaroo Valley colonies using 20 remote cameras. The results over the past 4 financial years have seen a steady increase in the number of BTRW. The River colony is the largest with the successful recruitment of 11 breeding-age individuals over the past four years. This colony has reached the minimum target of 15 adults with 12 subadults and joeys.