Case study - Welcome Bay wallabies unwelcome
Wallabies are a ‘Containment’ pest animal in the Regional Pest Management Plan and are carefully monitored under the Regional Pest Surveillance Programme. The wallabies’ penchant for native tree seedlings, ferns and grasses means they graze the forest floor, preventing natural regeneration. The Regional Council’s goal is to contain and manage wallaby populations within their established range around Rotorua, and stop their spread to new areas.
Despite increasing property development in Tauranga’s Welcome Bay area, a small population of wallabies remained unnoticed for nearly ten years at Rocky Cutting Road. The elusive population was confirmed after a sharp-eyed Council staff member spotted a newspaper article that mentioned a dog chasing wallabies in the Welcome Bay area.
A Council survey of local residents found that several had seen wallabies from as far back at the 1990s. Motion-sensing infrared cameras were installed in bush remnants on private land to help gather information about the extent of the wallaby population and, at the same time, record their interest in a range of baits.
Feratox® strikers (encapsulated cyanide bait) were used at one of the Welcome Bay properties, killing 16 wallabies and 77 possums. On-going monitoring will assess the number of wallabies remaining within the control area and on the surrounding properties.
Monitoring and control methods for wallabies are still under development and, with lifestyle properties immediately next to the bush areas where the wallabies live, the community will be engaged in planning and decision-making. Control methods will be carefully chosen.