Fleet of foot they may be, but black-flanked rock-wallabies are not known to be airborne - that was until May 2016.
That extraordinary aerial manoeuvre was the brainchild of WWF and the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife - a bold attempt to restore the population of rock-wallabies in Kalbarri National Park, 590 kilometres north of Perth.
Buoyed by the success of the Nangeen Hill predator-proof fence and predator controls around other Wheatbelt rock-wallaby reserves, we decided to airlift rock-wallabies to Kalbarri, where their numbers had dropped dangerously low. Foxes and feral cats were largely to blame, as were feral goats, which compete with rock-wallabies for food and shelter.
The first part of the project was to bring goat, fox and cat numbers under control in Kalbarri. Then, 23 rock-wallabies were trapped in the Wheatbelt and given a thorough health check, before boarding their very own flight for the two hour journey. Radio-tracking collars were fitted to each animal, so they could be monitored while settling into their new home, and remote-sensing cameras were installed to capture their first tentative steps.
In the future we hope to translocate more rock-wallabies to build the population at Kalbarri.
Watch the following video to see the story of the translocation:
Timeline of the project