Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby
The Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby (BTRW) has been making the news recently. The program to reintroduce the wallaby was started in 2008. This involved closing an area to public access and the area included a couple of climbing sites. As you will see by the information provided, climbers agreeance to stay away from these sites has been a huge plus in the success of the BTRW colony surviving. Having areas closed to recreational use is never something that is taken lightly and reactions from the user groups range from understanding to anger and impatience. So this is a great opportunity to show the climbing community what, its understanding and patience, have allowed to prosper.
Being on the Grampians Advisory Group, I was lucky enough to see the ongoing progress and in the early days actually, the disappointment. The colony was not thriving with various adults disappearing and then pouch young doing the same. At one point, the program study was stopped with no more adults being introduced and the colony as it was, was left to proceed as nature intended. While the site was still monitored, especially in trying to manage the feral animals such as the fox, there was less human intervention. And lo and behold, the colony started to grow with more pouch young surviving.
BTRW are notoriously shy animals and possibly less human contact has contributed to the success. The program has been a steep learning curve for all and the team at PV that were tasked with managing it in the park have done a brilliant job. Ryan Duffy who was the Program Coordinator – Biodiversity and Heritage, has now left PV Halls Gap but his enthusiasm and determination for the program to succeed, was a great thing to witness at the regular meetings on the program. Thanks to all that have stuck with it.
The colony now still has a long road ahead. In order for it to survive into the future, new genes need to be introduced. One of the issues now is inbreeding.
The larger area of land that was originally set aside for the wallabies was adjusted in late 2015.The area that was adjusted and removed appeared not to be used by the wallabies. It still includes sections of climbing sites although others are now accessible. Please continue to respect these closures.