THE survival prospects of the iconic Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby are looking good, thanks to a long running collaboration between Central Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS), the NSW National Parks and 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 LLS and the NSW National Parks and 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.
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.
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.
Monitoring has been implemented to measure the impact of fox control and assess their numbers.
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 LLS.