- Two black-flanked rock wallabies sighted in Kalbarri National Park
- The species has not been seen in the park since 1995
Rare black-flanked rock wallabies have been sighted at Kalbarri National Park, in the Mid-West, after being considered extinct in the area since the mid-1990s.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said a rock climber photographed and filmed two of these wallabies in a gorge in the Promenade area of the park in August.
"Despite extensive searches for the elusive species, they have not been seen there for 20 years, so it was amazing to discover they have survived after all this time," Mr Jacob said.
"The nearest known population is more than 450 kilometres away in the Wheatbelt, and there are some scattered populations much further north in the Pilbara, so we know these two wallabies must have been from the original population in the vicinity of the park."
The Minister said goats were considered to be a major factor in the original decline of rock wallabies in Kalbarri National Park.
"Goats have not only competed with the wallabies for food, but also pushed them out of protected gorge areas, leaving them vulnerable to predation by foxes and cats," he said.
"The Department of Parks and Wildlife has undertaken aerial goat culling in the park since 2006, and has controlled goats to the extent that wallaby numbers will now be able to build up again."
Under the wildlife recovery program Western Shield, the State Government has also been baiting for foxes in the park since 1996 and using the feral cat bait Eradicat®, which is supported by $1.7 million in Australian Government funding, for further feral cat control.
Mr Jacob said Parks and Wildlife had already been planning a reintroduction of the species using animals from Wheatbelt populations. This would still occur if an assessment showed it was needed to improve the genetic diversity of the Kalbarri wallaby population.
Parks and Wildlife has set up cameras in the area where the animals were spotted and is carrying out further surveys to determine whether there are any more wallabies in the park. Any further possible sightings in the gorge can be reported to the Kalbarri National Park headquarters on 9937 1140.
- The Kalbarri population of black-flanked rock wallabies are from the subspecies Petrogale lateralis lateralis and are listed as vulnerable in State and national legislation
- For more information, visit http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/
Minister's office - 6552 5800
black-flanked rock wallabies
photo credit: Remi Vignals