Reverse the spread of wallabies.
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Dama wallabies were first liberated in the Rotorua area in 1912, with a further liberation in 1940. Since 1912 their range has steadily extended, mainly north and east, by an average rate of about 19km per year. By 2000 they occupied 1697km2.
Dama wallabies are the only wallaby species present in the Waikato region. However, there are other wallaby species present in New Zealand, which could spread if deliberately released into the Waikato. The Waikato’s dama wallaby populations occur south of the Paeroa Range to the Waikato River and throughout the Mamaku Plateau. The expansion of their range is probably occurring through both natural and human means.
Dama wallabies browse on native and exotic vegetation. When present in high densities, they can change the pattern of forest succession, or at least alter the local abundance of different species. In this regard, wallabies can have a similar effect to possums.
Dama wallabies prefer the margins of forest and scrub habitats where they can shelter during the day and feed on grasses and pasture species at night. They inhabit predominantly podocarp/tawa/mixed hardwood forest with adjoining areas of manuka scrub, bracken and pasture.
If you have wallabies on your property or you’ve seen them outside their natural range, please report them to Waikato Regional Council.
Our council is working with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Bay of Plenty Regional Council to progressively contain and reverse the spread of wallabies in the region. If you have wallabies on your property or you’ve seen them outside their natural range, please report them to Waikato Regional Council on 0800 STOP PESTS (0800 786 773).
Wallabies are classified as an unwanted organism and possession of any live wallaby is an offence under the Biosecurity Act, unless the landowner is exempt. Wallabies may be hunted year round.
Indications of dama wallaby grazing or browsing are similar to that of other pests such as rabbits and possums. The most obvious sign is their almost square and flattened faecal pellets. Their long, narrow hind feet and dragging tail can leave a characteristic track in areas of sand and types of soft soil.
The dama wallaby tends to frequent favourite feeding areas. By doing this they create pad runs that are easily identifiable as narrow, well-formed tracks leading to pastureland or clearings in the bush.
Night shooting can help to maintain low wallaby numbers. Every person who is shooting must either hold a firearms licence, or be under the supervision of a person who holds a firearms licence. You should inform your neighbours of where and when you intend to be shooting.
When night shooting, ensure your spotlight battery is fully charged and you know the area well. Make sure you positively identify your target before shooting. For example, the ‘eye-shine’ of wallabies and possums is red-pink, while the ‘eye-shine’ of sheep and cattle is yellow-green. Note that repeated night shooting in the same area may become less effective, as wallabies can become shy of light and guns.
If you do shoot a wallaby, please notify the council on the wallaby hotline. Information of interest is the wallaby’s approximate age, sex and the location where it was shot.
Currently, only two poisons are effective on dama wallabies – aerial 1080, either in cereal pellets or on carrot, and Feratox (encapsulated cyanide). Both poisons require a controlled substance licence to purchase, store and use. For more information about this licence and application forms, visit www.business.govt.nz/worksafe(external link).
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