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Access Report Dec 2015-Part 2. Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Project

Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby Project

There have been a number of enquiries over time as to the progress and status of the Rock Wallaby Reintroduction in the Grampians. The programme has certainly had its downs although much has been learnt and continues to provide much needed info on what might make a reintroduction successful. The downs unfortunately has been the high mortality rate of the introduced wallabies. After much consideration, it was decided that for the time being, the Moora Creek colony program will be halted and the previously closed area is now accessible to visitors.

Interestingly after the decision to halt any further re introductions into this site, camera evidence showed that of the 4 wallabies that are persisting in the colony, two actually have pouch young. These remaining wallabies will continue to be monitored by the Recovery team. There is a smaller section that the recovery team are requesting that visitors access in a limited capacity so that the wallabies can continue to be monitored. Please respect this request for the sake of the remaining wallabies.

I received the following advice from Ryan Duffy at Parks Victoria. Along with this, he has provided a map that highlights the area where continued care needs to be taken. Please note that there are a number of abseiling anchors on Flat Rock in this area, that PV will be removing.

Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby site

In response to questions regarding the Moora Moora creek Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby site, I have included a map of the area where we ask people not to walk off-track, climb / abseil or camp. The rock-wallaby recovery team have asked that visitor don’t access this area as human activity can disturb the wallabies and also attract predators into the colony area, particular through regular use. Parks Victoria even limit the amount of times we access the colony.

At present, there are only 4 wallabies persisting in the colony, however two have pouch-young. The Recovery Team won’t be releasing more wallabies into the colony site in the near future as the program has experienced higher than expected mortality and there has been no successful recruitment into the colony (offspring surviving long enough to reproduce). However the remaining animals will stay at Moora Creek and continued to be monitored closely as the Recovery Team is still learning from this program which will aid future rock-wallaby reintroductions.

Rock-wallaby recovery efforts will continue in Victoria, however the focus has turned to making sure there is enough animals in captivity to aid future reintroductions in Victoria, and the small and last remaining wild population in Snowy River National Park is strengthened by reintroducing animals with healthier genetic diversity.

The Moora Creek colony site is bounded by Homestead track, Rosea Track and Henham Track. Attached is an image of recent pouch-young that have been detected in the colony.. We will be removing the abseiling anchor points at Flat Rock as this is consistent with limiting access to the colony site.

As Homestead track is now open there is an opportunity for people interested in conservation to potentially see a rock-wallaby at dusk. I would suggest they sit and view the colony from Flat Rock, a rock shelf adjacent to Homestead track, at dusk. Homestead track is 4WD only accessible. In addition, PV would be very interested if climbers have observed any rock-wallaby scat (poo). Where rock-wallabies persist they leave abundant amounts of scat on rock shelfs and ledges or at the base of escarpments. Attached is a photo of rock-wallaby scat. This looks like Brush-tailed possum scat but is larger.

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