Home' The Canberra Times : CHRONICLE 8.1.13 Contents THE CHRONICLE, Tuesday, January 8 2013 - 20
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A program at Tidbinbilla's Animal Breeding Centre has bred a record number of critically endangered brush-tailed rock wallabies.
Picture: Graham Tidy
A RECORD number of critically
endangered brush-tailed rock walla-
bies have been bred in captivity at
Tidbinbilla's Animal Breeding Centre.
Last year 16 rock wallabies were
bred, making it the biggest year since
the breeding program began five years
The program has produced 56 joeys
since its inception, with 23 released
back into the wild.
It is estimated that there are less
than 40 brush-tailed rock wallabies left
in the wild.
ACT Minister for Territory and
Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury
says the ACT is playing its part to save
Tidbinbilla's breeding program is
part of a national effort to save the
critically endangered southern brush-
tailed rock wallaby species from
"The wallabies are locally extinct in
the ACT and it is estimated there are
less than 40 left in the wild -- all of
which reside in Victoria,'' Mr Ratten-
When the wallabies are released
into the Grampians in Victoria they are
monitored using radio tracking collars
and remote surveillance cameras.
"The release area provides the
necessary rocky escarpments and out-
crops which they live amongst, as well
as abundant food,'' Mr Rattenbury
said. "Fox control work has also been
undertaken in the area."
The breeding program utilises an
innovative cross-fostering technique
where joeys are raised in the pouch of
foster mum yellow-footed rock walla-
This allows the breeding brush-
tailed rock wallabies to produce
another offspring within 30 days.
Tidbinbilla is home to about
70 per cent of the species' captive
breeding population in Australia.
Acting senior wildlife officer Scott
Ryan said hunting during the 19th
century reduced rock wallaby numbers
"Since then introduced predators,
particularly foxes, have decimated
populations,'' Mr Ryan said. "Destruc-
tion of habitat, and competition from
feral goats, has also added to their
He said there was a strong commit-
ment to the recovery program and
there was always the possibility that
the rock wallaby would be re-
introduced to the ACT.
"But it will take a lot of time, effort
and money to make it happen so it isn't
likely in the short term,'' Mr Ryan
The program is a joint partnership
with Adelaide Zoo and Mt Rothwell
Biodiversity Interpretation Centre.
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