Numerous bodies of dead endangered brush-tailed rock wallabies were found during an assessment by Aussie Ark, performed at the invitation of the NSW government, into the species' situation.
Aussie Ark, which is based in the Barrington Tops, reports that several had died from starvation and dehydration, whilst others were struck by a vehicle in search for food, water and shelter, as the area is not preferred wallaby habitat.
Encouragingly up to 30 were found residing near water bodies. These wallabies are now receiving food drops and ongoing remote camera monitoring until the situation improves.
Regionally, all of the brush-tailed rock-wallaby sites have been incinerated or are at imminent risk of fire. Coupled with the nation's worst drought in recent decades, limited food and water supply is wreaking havoc on populations.
Supplementary food sources and drops are helping to sustain surviving populations. Camera traps placed last week have captured a female wallaby carrying pouch young and another pair mating.
"Whilst there are encouraging signs that food drops are working and there is still available water in some areas, to find deceased wallabies is an absolute kick in the guts," Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner said.
"The NSW government departmental response is most welcome and is buying the wallabies time until conditions improve."
Aussie Ark is in contact with and working alongside the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to co-ordinate a regional approach of assessment, monitoring food drops and intervention if and when necessary.
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Aussie Ark has worked with this species long before recent events and are continuing their commitment to their survival. If emergency intervention becomes a necessity, Aussie Ark has a purpose built, specialised facility ready to house, rehabilitate and re-release brush-tailed rock wallabies.
Aussie Ark has committed to double its species recovery projects to create a new facility for the northern population of the species. The Ark currently has seven purpose-built facilities that provide home for up to 45 wallabies. Doubling this has its obvious benefits for the species.
"A regional collaborative approach between Aussie Ark and NPWS to brush-tailed rock wallabies can and will make a difference to their survival against these unforeseen and unprecedented fires and droughts. Aussie Ark remains committed to the cause, now and until the threat is clear," Tim Faulkner said.
Aussie Ark is collecting donations to help continue their work providing supplementary food sources to wildlife such as the Brush-tailed rock-wallaby. To donate visit www.aussieark.org.au.