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Wallabies are pests not pets

Thursday, 6 December 2012 2:00 p.m.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff are concerned some residents may be treating Dama wallabies as pets instead of pests.

Wallabies destroy native bush by feeding on seedlings which ultimately means native birds and animals lose out on food and shelter.

Land Management Manager - Rotorua Greg Corbett said wallabies are listed as a Containment pest in the Bay of Plenty Regional Pest Management Plan which means we want to prevent the further spread of them across the region.

"Residents keeping wallabies as pets may contribute to their spread as the animals have a nervous temperament and a strong drive to escape from captivity," said Mr Corbett.

Wallabies have also recently been listed as unwanted organisms in the Biosecurity Act, which means it is an offence under the Biosecurity Act to move or release them.

"As far as pests go, wallabies are one of the cuter animals and it may be tempting to want one as a pet. However, the reality is they are wild pest animals which have the potential to cause significant damage to our native bush.

"We are aware of a number of recent incidents of wallabies being sighted outside the area where we know they already exist. Some have even been in residential areas which is concerning as this may mean they are escaped pets," said Mr Corbett.

Control of wallabies is carried out by Regional Council in partnership with Department of Conservation (DOC) and Waikato Regional Council.

If you see a Dama Wallaby west of Rotorua, east of Kawerau and south of Rainbow Mountain please call 0508 WALLABY.

Wallabies in the wild are difficult to control. They cause significant damage to our native bush by feeding on native seedlings, ferns and grasses. They can also cause problems for forestry and farming by feeding on pine and eucalyptus seedlings and competing with stock for pasture.

"Pest management is the responsibility of landowners and occupiers. It is also a priority for Regional Council. There is support and advice available to landowners, occupiers and the community about pest plants and animals - everyone has a part to play.

"It is simply irresponsible to keep pest animals as pets because the damage that these animals cause to the environment is costly, both environmentally and financially.

"We need the community to let us know when they see pest animals like Dama Wallabies so we can help control their populations and protect our native bush," said Mr Corbett.

For pest control advice please call the Regional Council on 0800 884 880 and ask to speak to a Biosecurity or Land Management Officer.

Dama Wallaby factbox:

Grey/brown in colour with a paler grey underbelly on mature animals
Approximate body size for adult:
Females weigh up to 5.5kg
Males weigh up to 7kg

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