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Rock wallabies bounce back in Kalbarri after translocation

Releasing a rock wallaby in Kalbarri National Park. Photo: WWF Australia
Releasing a rock wallaby in Kalbarri National Park. Photo: WWF Australia

The small but thriving population of rock wallabies in Kalbarri National Park has received a further boost, with 25 more wallabies introduced into the park this week.

The third and final translocation of the species into the park over three years, brings the number of radio-collared wallabies, introduced from Wheatbelt reserves and Cape Range National Park, in the Pilbara to 72.

Black flanked rock wallabies were considered extinct from Kalbarri National Park for 20 years, until two wallabies were filmed in a gorge in 2015.

The translocation is a collaboration between the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and WWF Australia.

Feral cats, foxes and goats were considered to be the main factors in the original decline of wallabies in the park. Goats have been culled in the park since 2006 to enable rock wallaby food sources and habitat to recover.

DBCA has baited foxes in the park since 1996 and has been implementing Eradicat® cat baiting, which is assisted by $1.7 million in Federal Government funding to support further integration of feral cat control under the State Government's Western Shield program.

Following the translocation, a week of trapping will occur to determine the genetic diversity in locally born rock wallabies and if the unique Kalbarri genes are being retained.

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:

"This translocation will be into a new site in Kalbarri National Park and supplement other sites in the park where rock wallabies have already been released. This will both broaden the genetic pool and increase the population to help long-term survival of the species.

"In extremely positive news, remote camera monitoring of the previously introduced wallabies shows that they are breeding and thriving.

"Thanks to staff and volunteers from DBCA and WWF, this species has an excellent chance of prospering in Kalbarri once again."