Wallabies plague potenital concerning

Wednesday 11 Sep 2019

Forest & Bird calls for more funding to stop plague of wallabies - Forest & Bird says the government urgently needs to fund wallaby control, before the pest reaches plague proportions.

Wallabies could spread over a third of New Zealand within the next 50 years, unless control is increased dramatically, says Forest & Bird central North Island regional manager Rebecca Stirnemann.

Wallabies eat native trees and plants in the undergrowth of forests and compete with native wildlife for food. They also damage tall tussock grasslands, leaving bare ground and increasing soil erosion.

“They are like giant rabbits that eat their way through native bush, reducing the species of plants and trees by 57%.

“They pose an enormous threat economically and environmentally,” says Dr Stirnemann.

Populations of dama wallabies in the Rotorua lakes region are dangerously high and threatening new areas, she says.

“They pose a terrible risk to native forests in Te Urewera and the Kaimai ranges, which they are edging closer to as they expand in numbers.

“If they get established in those beautiful, mature forests, the consequences would be disastrous,” Dr Stirnemann says.

People have reported seeing 20 to 30 wallabies a night around the Rotorua lakes.

The small, grey dama wallabies can move long distances quickly and have just started spreading into Waikato for the first time, Dr Stirnemann says.


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