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Iconic Rock Wallaby survive and thrive

The survival prospects of the iconic Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby are looking good, thanks in part to a long running collaboration between Central Tablelands Local Land Services, the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), local landholders, and volunteers.

Population strongholds along the Wolgan and Capertee Rivers, and a small colony at Jenolan Caves have been identified as priorities for the species’ survival on NSW’s Central Tablelands.

Monitoring data suggests that Rock Wallaby numbers in the Wolgan and Capertee regions have managed to remain stable while the colony at Jenolan has tripled in size since the collaborative program commenced in 2007.

Foxes are considered a key threat to the survival of the Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby which is in danger of extinction.

Local landholders, Central Tablelands Local Land Services and the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, have been working on an ongoing Fox Threat Abatement Plan (FoxTAP) to protect the wallabies.

“This is one of the most successful threatened species projects in NSW, and that’s largely due to the combined efforts of Local Land Services and the National Parks and Wildlife Service who have carried out intensive fox control on and off the park,” said NPWS Ranger, Michaela Jones.

“The control program has also involved a great deal of generous cooperation from landholders who have allowed us to extend fox baiting on to private property.”

Concerted efforts to reduce fox predation have resulted in low levels of recorded fox activity at Wolgan and Capertee, with regular baiting in core habitat areas and on adjacent private land to create a buffer zone of protection.

The baiting programs have had the additional benefit of reducing stock losses for farmers in the region.

“It’s difficult to run sheep in this area because of the foxes, so we appreciate the ongoing control work,” said Edith farmer, Tracey Whalan.

Tracey and her husband John Whalan bait every year before lambing on their Edith property, McKeowns Creek.

“The additional baiting carried out to protect the Rock Wallabies also keeps fox numbers down for private landholders like ourselves,” said Tracey.

Meanwhile monitoring has been implemented to measure the impact of fox control, using sand pads and camera traps to assess the number of foxes and other predators in the target areas.

With the help of volunteers, wallaby numbers have also been carefully followed using scat counts at Wolgan and Capertee to assess population change over time. NPWS and Taronga Zoo conduct a biannual wallaby trapping, tagging, and monitoring program at Jenolan to track survival and growth rates.

“We’re gaining a better understanding of population dynamics through the various monitoring programs,” said Huw Evans from Central Tablelands Local Land Services.

The collaborative efforts of landholders, volunteers, Local Land Services, and the National Parks & Wildlife Service, are not only helping to ensure the survival of the iconic Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby, but are also protecting other threatened and protected native species in the region such as quolls which have become a common sight at Jenolan.

For more information about ongoing efforts to protect the Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby, contact Huw Evans on: 02 6350 3117 or email huw.evans@lls.nsw.gov.au

Media enquiries: Kylie Krause | 0439 608 370