Brush-tailed rock-wallaby project update – September 2019

5 September 2019


Author: Alesia Dyer

Rock Wallaby, Flinders-Goolman Estate

As part of Wildlife Queensland’s project to improve and increase foraging habitat for an important colony of brush-tailed rock-wallabies (BTRW) in the Flinders–Goolman Conservation Estate in South East Queensland, our projects team has been conducting a series of camera monitoring surveys to assess:

  • the level of browsing competition faced by BTRW from other wallaby species
  • the occurrence of introduced predators that may impact the BTRW population.

As of 25 September, our survey project has been running for 45 days with 10 infrared cameras being left on 24/7, amounting to 10,800 hours of field observations.

We are waiting on an additional month of camera observations to analyse the data but we can already see some patterns emerging.

Emerging patterns

In the monitoring period to date, we have viewed a total of 1813 photos. Most of these photos are of swamp wallabies (x1500), with only a handful of brush-tailed rock-wallaby photos (x91).

Out of all 10 cameras, the rock-wallabies are only visiting 2, while swamp wallabies are seen at 9/10 cameras (they aren’t visiting the rock-wallaby “den” site).

Wild dogs have also been spotted in a few photos (x34), often a few days after a wallaby visit. They often stand right where a wallaby was and are seen sniffing around the wildlife trails – they probably want to eat them!

We have found 3 predator scats so far and have sent them off for analysis in Victoria, where the results will tell us whether or not our rock-wallabies are getting eaten, and what they’re getting eaten by. This may help explain why rock-wallabies only visited 2 of the cameras.

The most interesting series of photos to date show a rock-wallaby with a swamp wallaby (lasting for about 2 minutes) – see some of these images in the video below. This is interesting because we believe these two wallabies should be in different places at different times so as not to impact each other. Our project aims to identify if there is a difference in the activity patterns of wallabies at our study site, but these photos suggest there may be no difference.

 There may only be a small overlap occasionally, and we just happened to capture it, but still, what factors caused this co-existence? Food availability is one of these factors, so we are looking into vegetation types and abundance in the near future to help answer our question.

Stay tuned for more updates on the BTRW project, coming soon.

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 About the author: Alesia Dyer is a University of Queensland placement student and Wildlife Queensland BTRW project team member.


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