For the team trying to save Australia’s black-flanked rock-wallabies this youngster is an absolute star.
She is living proof that a bold plan to return rock-wallabies to WA’s mid-west is working.
The joey, about two months old, was recently photographed in Kalbarri National Park, a place where a familiar story for native wildlife had played out.
Feral goats competed with the wallabies for food and they were easy prey for cats and foxes.
For 20 years, there was no trace of the park’s wallabies and it was feared they were locally extinct.
Then in a eureka moment, two wallabies were seen in the park in 2015, following programs to control feral pests.
An ambitious plan had already been drawn up to re-establish rock-wallabies in the park.
The sight of two wallabies who beat the odds excited everyone involved.
It was decided the newcomers would be released close to the survivors.
In May last year, WWF-Australia and the Department of Parks and Wildlife airlifted 23 wallabies from colonies in WA’s Wheatbelt to Kalbarri National Park. Another 24 wallabies made the same journey this year.
“The young joey is fantastic news for the species. Her mother is the first translocated animal we’ve seen in person with a pouch young,” said WWF-Australia Species Conservation Manager, Merril Halley.
“Both mum and joey were in great health.
“The fact that this female has bred just one year after arriving in the new territory bodes really well for the future survival of the species in the Kalbarri National Park.
“Prior to this joey we’ve only seen evidence of young on sensor cameras, so to see that the next generation is starting and that they are healthy is just wonderful news. We’re thrilled,” she said.
The joey was discovered this month during the second translocation of wallabies to the National Park.
“More wallabies were airlifted in this year to build the population as well as to ensure genetic diversity, we hope to see lots more joeys like this healthy young girl.”
“Since May last year we have only lost one individual so at this stage the re-introduction is going really well.”
“To go from possibly only two adults in the entire Kalbarri National Park to over 40 in just two years is really exciting,” Ms Halley said.
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Paula Kruger, Senior Manager News and Public Affairs, 0407 067 303