MANAGING WALLABIES ON KING ISLAND: MANAGEMENT THAT WORKS

Ellen Freeman1, Shane Keeler2, Rhys Stickler 1

1Department Of Primary Industries, Parks, Water And Environment, DPIPWE, Prospect, TAS, Australia

2Department Of Primary Industries, Parks, Water And Environment, Currie, King Island, Australia

 

 ABSTRACT

Since 1995 populations of wallabies, predominantly Bennetts wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus), and to a lesser degree Tasmanian pademelon (Thylogale billardierii), have been abundant in King Island landscapes, impacting natural and agricultural environments. King Island lies between Tasmania and mainland Australia, encompassing 110 000 ha of predominantly flat landscapes, some plateau country, and a large extent of cleared pasture land with remnant bushland. The island boasts quality beef and dairy production, and pristine natural environments. To manage wallabies, and their browsing impacts on natural and agricultural environments in 2013 a Wallaby Management Coordinator was employed by the Tasmanian Government’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. Management encompasses wallaby-proof fencing, shooting, education and neighbour co-operation. Seven properties initially engaged in wallaby management. Today thirty-one properties engage in wallaby management, and eighty have Crop Protection Permits. In six years an average of 71 667 wallabies have been culled per year, and 240 kilometres of wallaby-proof fencing has been installed. Properties engaged in wallaby management are reaping the rewards, with one property reporting a 75% increase in production in three years of wallaby management. The future profitability of agricultural production relies on continual management of these species.


BIOGRAPHY

Ellen Freeman has recently joined Game Services Tasmania as a Wildlife Management Officers.Originally from rural Tasmania Ellen developed a passion for wildlife management and research, and an understanding of many aspects behind it encompassing conservation, primary production, quality deer management, recreational hunting, and sustainability. More recently, Ellen has worked inter-state where she completed extensive research on wild deer populations and a Bachelor of Science degree. Ellen’s research includes projects on ‘The regulatory control of deer in Australia’, and ‘The diet of wild deer in South Australia’ –using DNA analysis to identify plants from deer stomach content samples.Working as a Wildlife Officer for Queensland Government Ellen was a part of a team responsible for monitoring saltwater crocodile populations, licensing and compliance of native vegetation clearing, harvesting of native wildlife, and herpetology. Ellen is passionate about the future of wildlife management in Tasmania, and the research needed to support this. Already Ellen has developed many productive relationships with landowners, and hunters. She is looking forward to fostering greater cooperation between hunters and landholders to assist in achieving integrated wildlife management for sustainability and primary production.

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Photography Credits

Tourism Tasmania, Barnbougle Dunes, Ray Joyce, Health Holden, Graham Freeman, Joe Shemesh, Glenn Gibson, Hobart City Council, Nick Osborne, National Trust Tasmania, Dale Baldwin, Brian Dullaghan, Rob Burnett, Alistair Bett, Alice Bennett, Wai Nang Poon, Chris Crerar, Kathy Leahy, Flow Mountain Bike, Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service, James Bowden, Masaaki Aihara, Sean Feennessy, Bruce Irwin, Liz Knox