Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies in the Grampians
The threatened Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby was once found amongst the rocky gorges in south-eastern Australia. Their decline is largely due to historical hunting for the fur trade, habitat clearing and predation from the red fox. However foxes are continuing to be monitored and controlled by Parks Victoria.
Since the Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies were announced extinct in the Grampians in 1999, the last known female was removed into captivity.
Through captive breeding, Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies are now up to a number where they are being re-introduced into the wild.
Once released, DEPI officers regularly monitor the species.
The area within the Grampians National Park where the animals were released was chosen due to its excellent conditions, including rocky ledges, cliffs and plentiful food essential to the survival of the species.
The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby recovery program involves the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria, Adelaide Zoo, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (ACT) and other partner organisations. It has also been significantly supported by sponsor donations.
For more information please contact the DEPI Customer Service Centre on 136186.
Emily Bedggood - Biodiversity Officer - DEPI
Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies went extinct in the Grampians here in 1999, the last known female was taken out and put into captivity. So, through captive breeding we've bred Rock-wallabies up to a number where we're now re-introducing them back into the wild where they once existed.
Dr David Schultz- Conservation Veterinarian - Adelaide Zoo
I've been at the Adelaide Zoo for a long time and we've had Rock-wallabies at the Adelaide zoo, Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies, for over 100 years, so we've got a little bit of an idea of how these guys tick.
The main place where we actually do trap them is right along the bottom of the ridge line in the rocky areas. They will move around down to the creek but you generally find them up high, in amongst the rocks.
Generally we start fairly early in the morning to check the traps, we come out here, hopefully when it's starting to get light. We break up into groups and check each trap individually. We see if they're shut, if they are you know you be very quiet and you walk up to them and bag the animals. We then take them back to a processing station where the vet is waiting for us and we process them there.
What happens is that when we are monitoring these species to find out how well their, what their weight is for example, and how well conditioned they are, what we do is we take blood samples, as well because that can give us just a little bit extra information about what in fact is happening inside.
Well the known population in Victoria, we have the ten here, there's up to twenty in East Gippsland, in the East Gippsland colony. NSW has a bigger population than we do, its in the hundreds, they don't know precisely how many, and Queensland has a couple of thousand left in their population.
So the captive breeding program started with animals that were taken out of the East Gippsland population and brought into captivity. They used methods like cross fostering to help progress the captive breeding to make it a lot quicker. Normally you only get about 1.6 animals per year but with cross fostering we can get them to cycle a second time within the year.
I won't be happy until we've got a replicating colony in the Grampians somewhere and possibly even another one in East Gippsland . So, it's really a matter of trying to make sure that the captive animals are providing enough beasties for release until we can get a colony going in the wild.