Public urged to look out for Wallabies in Upper Hutt and near Featherston
Greater Wellington is urging people in and around Upper Hutt and Featherston to keep a sharp eye out for Wallabies following the recent recovery of several dama wallaby corpses in the Pakuratahi Forest and near Kaitoke Regional Park.
“We urge anyone who thinks they have spotted wallabies, or signs of their presence, to visit www.reportwallabies.nz or call the Pests and Diseases line (0800 80 99 66) and report the sighting,” says Greater Wellington Manager, Biosecurity, Davor Bejakovich. “We will follow up all reported sighting as it is critical to ensure wallabies do not establish themselves in our region.”
Wallabies are capable of causing significant adverse environmental effects, including preventing the regeneration of native bush and depleting forest understorey, with possible impacts on water quality. They can damage and deplete tall tussock grassland vegetation to bare ground, increasing the risk of soil erosion.
The call for the public’s help follows extensive day and night inspections and the installation of trail cameras for surveillance and taking DNA and EDNA samples from water and faeces found during searches in the areas.
“So far, we’ve not found further wallabies but we’re hoping local landowners, residents and park users will keep the area under surveillance so that we can be sure wallabies haven’t settled in the area. Not everyone is aware that wallaby populations exist in the wild in New Zealand so we’re distributing signs and other material throughout the area to build awareness and encourage people to report sightings.”
Dama wallabies are grey to reddish brown kangaroo-like marsupials standing around 0.5m tall with tails as long as half their height. Most are found in the wider Rotorua Lakes area, with the larger Bennett’s wallaby found in South Canterbury. Both species are spreading into neighbouring areas.
“We need to keep them out of this region and the community can be assured that we will do what’s necessary to protect our environment against their establishment,” says Davor Bejakovich. “This is an opportunity for people to help protect our environment by reporting any signs or sightings of wallabies.”
Anyone who sees what they believe is a wallaby should report it to www.reportwallabies.nz
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