Blue Mountains News

Rare Brush-Tailed Rock Wallabies Thriving at Jenolan

Source: Jenolan Caves
Archived 7 Nov 2018 - Posted: 11 Sep 2018
Around 70 years ago, brush-tailed rock wallabies were common at Jenolan Caves and part of the attraction. But by 1992, they were almost extinct. Continuous fox control on the reserve over the past 20 years has seen rock-wallaby numbers increase dramatically.

However, thanks to continuous fox control on the reserve over the past 20 years rock-wallaby numbers have increased dramatically.

Since 2000, National Parks and Wildlife Service staff (and veterinary specialists from Taronga Zoo) have been monitoring the brush-tailed rock-wallaby population at Jenolan Caves, as part of the State-wide rock-wallaby recovery program, run by the Office of Environment & Heritage.  But the monitoring is done at night, and only twice a year, so very, very few people get to see exactly what is done and what data is collected.

Recently, Jenolan Caves General Manager, Jodie Anderson, accompanied Michaela Jones, Senior Project Officer for 'Saving our Species', as Michaela checked the health of Jenolan's colony of diminutive wallabies. Their favourite treat (a top secret recipe) lures them quickly into traps. Then, experienced handlers do a gentle, quick and expert inspection.  Most of the wallabies are already micro-chipped and some have radio collars. Microchips are scanned, to obtain each wallaby's name and age.  (Yes, Jenolan's approximately 100 rock wallabies have names, and all starting with the letter 'T'.)  The wallabies are weighed, their skin, fat and muscle are assessed and their pouches are checked for young.  GPS data is also downloaded from radio collars. 

This latest monitoring trip found that, despite being a little on the thin side due to the drought, Jenolan's wallabies are in good health, with a record number of 26 pouched young recorded - wonderful news! 

 
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