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Have you seen a wallaby lately?

Have you seen a wallaby lately?

That’s what Environment Bay of Plenty wants to know – and it needs people’s help to find the answers.

Dama wallabies are a pest imported from Australia to the Rotorua district nearly a century ago. They live mostly in native bush, where they can cause extensive damage, especially by eating native seedlings. Though numbers are not documented, there may well be thousands of them.

Environment Bay of Plenty, Environment Waikato and the Department of Conservation are about to start targeted long-term control operations. But first they must map their distribution, says Environment Bay of Plenty pest animal coordinator Greg Corbett.

A major survey was carried out six years ago. This is now being repeated to update the information, Mr Corbett says. Staff will be talking to property owners, forestry companies, forest users and others. However, they are also seeking information from the public.

“We want to discover exactly how far wallabies have spread out of the main infestation area,” Mr Corbett explains.

The highest density of wallabies is around Lakes Rotoiti, Okataina and Tarawera. However, wallabies are sighted fairly regularly within a 170,000 ha block that starts about 10km from the coast and reaches inland to the Kaingaroa Forest boundary near the Taupo highway. State Highway 33 forms the boundary on the western side while the known eastern limit is Kawerau and Rerewhakaaitu.

Mr Corbett asks people to call Environment Bay of Plenty if they see wallabies close to or outside these boundaries. In general terms, this would be in coastal areas, around the Rangitaiki Plains, Pongakawa, or the western side of Lake Rotorua.

“We’d also like to know if you spot a wallaby while driving along the main highways between Tauranga and Rotorua, or between Taupo and Rotorua. These are all border areas, and your information would help us get an idea of wallaby distribution and population density.”

The number to call is 0800 ENV BOP (368 267).

The information will help the organisations gather information and plan control methods if required.

Ends

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