Black flanked rock wallaby in the central wheatbelt © Craig Pentland

Black flanked rock wallaby in the central wheatbelt © Craig Pentland

A fence fit for a rock star

Keywords
  • protected areas
  • wallabies
  • western australia

The situation was grim when WWF joined the fight to save the threatened black-flanked rock-wallaby. Even in Nangeen Hill, a Class A nature reserve in the Western Australian Wheatbelt, numbers had plummeted from 100 to just five by 2011. A strong campaign to control foxes and feral cats was struggling.

Our first step was to partner with the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife to fund a specially designed five kilometre predator-proof fence around the perimeter of the reserve. Once the fence was completed in 2013, 17 rock-wallabies were translocated from nearby, bringing the population to 22 and increasing the genetic pool.

 

Nangeen Hill fence © Phil Lewis / DPaW / WWF-Aus 

But predation was not the only threat to the wallabies. Overgrazing around the granite outcrop at Nangeen Hill had also stripped away a lot of the available food. Again in partnership with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, WWF began replanting rock-wallaby food sources in 2014 to ensure these agile mammals are sustained as the population recovers.

 

Both measures have been extremely successful and, excitingly, the rock-wallaby population has doubled since 2013.

 

Nangeen Hill planting day © DPaW / WWF-Aus 

 

 

Timeline of the project:

  • April 2010 – Community scat monitoring program established by WWF and Shire of Kellerberrin in order to regularly monitor Wheatbelt black-flanked rock-wallabies.

  • 2011 – Community scat monitoring program identified that the population was decreasing.

  • February 2012 – WA Dept. of Parks and Wildlife census trapping confirmed that Nangeen rock-wallaby population had dropped to 9 individuals.

  • April 2013 – WA Dept. of Parks and Wildlife census trapping confirmed that Nangeen rock-wallaby population had plummeted to only 5 individuals.

  • July 2013 – Predator proof fence officially closed around Nangeen Hill Nature Reserve, creating a sanctuary from introduced predators. 17 rock-wallabies translocated into Nangeen Hill Nature Reserve from nearby granite outcrop in order to boost breeding capability of population to 23.

  • July 2014 – First lot revegetation work of Nangeen Hill meadow commenced.

  • October 2014 – Another round of census trapping showed population had grown to 39 rock-wallabies.

  • May 2016 – 3 rock-wallabies were translocated from Nangeen Hill to help start a larger population in Kalbarri National Park.

© Sian Breen / WWF-Aus

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