Tasmania has two species of wallaby - the
- and one species of kangaroo, the
. Occasionally, these species come into conflict with landowners. The following information will help in finding solutions to these problems.
Problems and Solutions
Wallabies and kangaroos damage crops and pastures in many parts of Tasmania. Damage in localised areas where numbers are high, or where crops are especially valuable, can be significant. Due to the large numbers and wide distribution of pademelons and Bennetts wallabies, it is these that are most often the problem, although Forester kangaroos can be a nuisance in very limited parts of Tasmania. Wallabies and kangaroos may become especially problematic during droughts when a lack of natural food can push them into crop or pasture areas to feed.
A further, less common, problem caused mainly by the larger Forester kangaroo is damage to fencing.
To prevent these problems:
- Plan ahead! Consider likely grazing problems before planting a crop or developing an area of pasture. Avoid small areas surrounded by bush.
- Consider fencing where long-term protection is required or where a very valuable crop is planted. New fence designs are constantly being tried.
- If population reduction is necessary on your property, then a shooting program may need to be implemented. It is far better to control wallabies at acceptable levels than to rapidly reduce numbers. A permit will be required for spotlight shooting and all shooters must be licensed to take wallabies.
- If all else fails (i.e. fencing is not practical and shooting has been demonstrated to be ineffective) and further culling of wallabies is needed, a permit to lay 1080 poison may be issued in accordance with the
Code of Practice.
In natural areas, populations are controlled by predation, mostly by Tasmanian devils and eagles, and by food supply. In poor years, fewer young are produced therefore minimising population growth. Unfortunately, the clearing of bushland and the creation of improved pasture has tipped the natural balance in favour of increased macropod numbers.
The pademelon and Bennetts wallaby are both abundant in Tasmania as their numbers and distribution have expanded over the past 30 years. This is due to a reduction in hunting pressure and the clearing of forest by people. This resulted in a mosaic of pastures where wallabies can feed at night, alongside bushland where they can shelter by day. Although both species are partly protected in Tasmania; they may be killed under permits to control problem populations or during annual open seasons. Although the Forester kangaroo is common on the mainland (where it is known as the eastern grey kangaroo), the Tasmanian population has been severely depleted by hunting and habitat loss; at one time it was reduced to 15% of its former numbers. It is restricted to the midlands and the northeast of the state and although relatively common in local areas, it is still at risk and is therefore wholly protected. To overcome local problems some shooting permits are issued. Live trapping and relocation has occurred in the past and has successfully re-established the species in areas where it once occurred.
Roles and Values
Tasmania's wallabies and kangaroos play an important role in the economy and ecology of the State. They:
- are a source of food for Tasmanian devils, quolls and eagles, who take the young, sick or injured, or scavenge carcases.
- are an important tourism asset providing enjoyment for many people, particularly overseas visitors who have nothing like the wallaby or kangaroo in their home country.
- provide recreational shooters with sustainable hunting opportunities.
- have high quality meat and fur which is sold both locally and interstate.
Green, R. H. (1993).
The Mammals of Tasmania.
Potoroo Publishing, Launceston.
Strahan, R. (ed). (1995).
The Mammals of Australia.
Reed Books, NSW.
Temby, I. (1992).
Living with wildlife.
Department of Conservation & Environment, Victoria.
Watts, D. (1993)
Tasmanian Mammals - A field guide.
Peregrine Press, Tasmania.
Managing Wildlife Browsing and Grazing Losses