The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby is one of Australia’s most critically endangered animals, with an estimated 40 left in the wild and it’s long-term survival looking very grim.
But its future is suddenly looking brighter after the ACT Government and Zoos Victoria announced a joint project to save the critically endangered wallaby.
The ACT Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Mick Gentleman, said the $80,000 funding from the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Recovery Fund will be used to construct a new 120-hectare semi-wild predator-proof enclosure at Tidbinbilla.
“This initiative will provide increased opportunities to reintroduce animals bred within the enclosure to sites in Victoria and potentially within the ACT,” Mr Gentleman said.
“It also allows for greater research to be undertaken into the wallaby’s ecology.”
Mr Gentleman hopes the initiative will produce a population of wallabies with a strong gene pool.
“Researchers are now moving threatened species management away from intensive breeding programs and husbandry,” he said.
“Research shows that although numbers are important, the genetic integrity of individual animals is critical to their overall survival.”
Zoos Victoria Threatened Species General Manager, Craig Whiteford, said Tidbinbilla was well-placed to host the new facility because it had played a vital role in the recovery of the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby since the 1980s.
“Urgent action is needed to save the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby from extinction and to implement long-term strategies for their release back into the wild,” Mr Whiteford said.
“Of the 15 species of Rock-wallaby in Australia, most have disappeared from their original range and are now considered threatened.”
Mr Whiteford will meet with the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Commissioner to talk broadly about the role of government and zoos in threatened species recovery and hopes to establish a strong collaborative partnership with the Australian Government.
Work on the enclosure is expected to commence in July and be completed by the end of the year.