Wildlife Queensland secures grant aiming to double brush-tailed rock-wallaby population

Brush-tailed rock-wallaby

7 June 2024

Wildlife Queensland is excited to announce that it has secured a grant from the Australian Government Saving Native Species Program. This funding will support an ambitious project aimed at doubling the population of the endangered brush-tailed rock-wallaby in southern Queensland by 2025.

The brush-tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillata) is listed as vulnerable in Queensland and nationally. Small, isolated populations of brush-tailed rock-wallabies are found in mountainous terrain along Queensland’s Great Dividing Range, eastern New South Wales and Victoria.

Comprehensive fox control across seven populations

The project aims to address key threats to the brush-tailed rock-wallaby, including:

  • fox predation
  • unsuitable fire practices
  • weed incursion.

Foxes predate on rock-wallabies and restrict their habitat, forcing them into rocky refuges. To counter this, Wildlife Queensland will expand fox control measures initiated in 2023, hoping to double rock-wallaby populations across six key rock-wallaby populations.

The strategy will involve large-scale fox control using buried fox-specific baits. Fox control will be conducted three times a year to target specific stages in the fox life cycle.

Furthermore, a communication campaign involving more landholders will help create fox-free buffers around rock-wallaby colonies.

This approach aims to protect rock-wallabies and encourages landholders to participate in pest control programs, benefiting other native species threatened by foxes.

Monitoring and evaluation

Detailed population monitoring will be a critical component of the project. Using camera traps and drones, baseline data on rock-wallaby populations will be collected and monitored twice annually. This will allow for a direct comparison of population growth in areas with and without fox control, demonstrating the effectiveness of the fox management strategy.

Enhancing habitat connectivity

In addition to controlling fox populations, the project will conduct a connectivity analysis to identify barriers between isolated rock-wallaby subpopulations. This analysis will inform revegetation efforts aimed at restoring genetic flow between colonies, benefiting a range of other threatened species. Wildlife Queensland will leverage existing revegetation projects targeting koalas and other species to enhance landscape connectivity for brush-tailed rock-wallabies.

Training and community engagement

An important aspect of the project is to train landholders in proper fire management and weed control. Wildlife Queensland plans to organise two ecological burning workshops to demonstrate prescribed cool burns around rocky habitats. These workshops will teach landowners how to implement fire regimes that protect and benefit rock-wallabies.

The project will target weed control in colonies where weeds threaten rock-wallaby habitats. This approach hopes to improve foraging areas and incentivise landholders to participate in fox control.

Building a conservation network

The project will also assist in building the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Conservation Network. The network aims to engage all stakeholders in rock-wallaby conservation in southern Queensland, acting as an informal regional recovery team. Materials and resources developed during the project will be disseminated through the network, ensuring sustained support for rock-wallaby conservation efforts beyond the project’s lifespan.

Long-term benefits and goals

The project is set to:

  • Double the brush-tailed rock-wallaby population in key areas by 2025.
  • Implement comprehensive monitoring to assess the benefits of fox control and identify other threats.
  • Enhance understanding of rock-wallaby distribution through surveys and habitat suitability mapping.
  • Improve habitat connectivity and inform conservation efforts for multiple species.
  • Educate and engage landholders in sustainable fire and weed management practices.
  • Expand and strengthen the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Conservation Network.

“By addressing critical threats and fostering community involvement, we aim to secure the future of the brush-tailed rock-wallaby in southern Queensland, ensuring the survival and recovery of this threatened species,” says Wildlife Queensland Project Officer Paul Revie.

This project received grant funding from the Australian Government Saving Native Species Program. Australian Government logo

What you can do:

  • Download Wildlife Queensland’s Saving the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby: A Landholder’s Guide
  • Learn more about Wildlife Queensland’s Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Conservation Network.
  • Subscribe to our eBulletin Talking Wildlife to learn more about your local wildlife, plus Wildlife Queensland’s latest news, offers and events.

 

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