Black-flanked rock-wallaby translocation, Western Australia © WWF-Aus / Karen Kalpage

Black-flanked rock-wallaby translocation, Western Australia © WWF-Aus / Karen Kalpage

Rock-wallaby rescue takes off

Keywords
  • wallabies
  • western australia

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.

 

Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia © WWF-Aus / Karen Kalpage 

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

  • First translocation occurred May 2016.

  • A second 'top-up' translocation is planned for Autumn 2017.

© Sian Breen / WWF-Aus

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