Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby day

*BTRW – Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby*

On Nov. 3rd, 2007 Tony Corrigan, BTRW(Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby) Project Manager with the Grampians National Park, together with Sylvia van der Peet, Threatened Species officer, led a group of approx. 30 people on a 4WD tour of the proposed ‘release site’ for the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby. This elusive creature known as the ‘Shadow’ once thrived in small colonies in the rocky outcrops & terraces of the Gramps, however it is thought to have become extinct in the 1930’s. Some knowledgeable locals believe the wallaby existed well into the 60’s, in much smaller numbers of course. Predation came about due to competition with foxes, goats and other feral animals.

Tony Corrigan, has come to the Grampians from Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (outside Canberra) where Wallaby fostering trials started in 1997. Tony is most passionate about the planned release of wallabies into the Grampians; he was extremely pleased with the public response to the day trip as the weather was wet, wet, wet. By speaking to as many interested parties as he can, Tony hopes to gather a band of volunteers to help with monitoring, scat collection, publicity, money-raising to purchase necessary equipment. eg. traps.

After our group left the proposed release site we proceeded to an area close to Dunkeld where a number of breeding animals are being held in what is called the ’soft’ release enclosure. Here Wallabies are monitored for health & fitness etc. Because of their extremely shy nature we did not see any during our time there.
Recent animal health checks of the Wallabies made by Tony together with senior Veterinarian Dr. David Schultz from Adelaide University, found the animals had gained weight and were in good general health.

Their future looks exciting and hopefully the release date for these elusive creatures will not be too far away. Thanks to Tony & Sylvia for a wonderfully informative day.

Information re various projects can be found at the “Chasing Shadows”:http://www.vicrockwallaby.com/ website which is dedicated to the conservation and recovery of the Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby.

Brush tailed rock wallaby community action group

Following the successful launch of the Brush tailed rock wallaby (BTRW) holding facility at Dunkeld last December Barry Clugston and Tony Corrigan have been considering ways for interested people to become involved with the brush tailed rock wallaby recovery project.

A number of individuals have expressed an interest in being more involved in the project and as a result of that interest it is proposed that a community based action group be formed.

Such a group could have a number of functions, some suggestions are:

* Raise awareness of the plight of the species and the efforts to conserve it. This program has very broad benefits for the ecological communities in BTRW habitat – for example the control of foxes has shown to have extensive benefits for small native mammal populations and fire management regimes that benefit BTRWs can also be used to conserve landscape values.

* Raise awareness of the Grampian’s reintroduction project and its benefits for the greater environment, the community and tourism. The project has opportunities for many sectors and members of the community and has tourism potential.

* Monitoring. There are a series of monitoring sub projects associated with the program. These include: Habitat monitoring including vegetation survey; Monitoring of native competitor species prior to and post release and; Direct monitoring of brush tailed rock wallabies back in their environment post release

* Fund raising. The program is highly reliant on the sponsorship provided by the private sector as well as government funding. The future success of conservation efforts for the species is dependant on successful fundraising.

* Newsletter/Website/Communication – editors, writers and desktop publishers

* Installation and maintenance of technical equipment including radio telemetry, weather stations and field survey equipment.

We propose to convene a meeting to further this idea at 2 pm on Saturday 8th September at the Mural Room at the Parks Victoria offices at Halls Gap. Please contact Tony Corrigan on 5361 4021 if you are interested in attending.