Wallabies

In New Zealand, there are two wallabies, the Dama wallaby and Bennett’s wallaby.

Wallaby edited 1Dama wallabies are the only wallaby species occurring in the North Island, having been introduced to the Rotorua District in 1912. Bennett’s wallabies are also known as red-necked, brush or scrub wallaby. They are the only wallaby species occurring in the South Island.

Wallabies browse on native and exotic vegetation. When present in high densities, they can change the pattern of forest succession, or at least alter the local abundance of different species. In this regard, wallabies can have a similar effect to possums.

Wallabies prefer the margins of forest and scrub habitats where they can shelter during the day and feed on grasses and pasture species at night. They inhabit predominantly podocarp/tawa/mixed hardwood forest with adjoining areas of manuka scrub, bracken and pasture.

Regional councils have primary responsibility for wallaby control in New Zealand. At the strategic level, policies and goals are set in each regional pest management strategy. These goals are then pursued via annual plans, which dictate when and where control and monitoring will be carried out.

If you have wallabies on your property or you’ve seen them outside their natural range, please report them to your local regional council. Wallabies are classified as an unwanted organism and possession of any live wallaby is an offence under the Biosecurity Act, unless the landowner is exempt. Wallabies may be hunted year round.

Methods of control 

Shooting

Night shooting can be reasonably effective for initial knockdown of a population. The area to be controlled has to lend itself tonight shooting in that access should be good and the cover reasonably open. Every person who is shooting must either hold a firearms licence, or be under the supervision of a person who holds a firearms licence. You should inform your neighbours of where and when you intend to be shooting. The best practice techniques for night shooting wallabies are the same as for rabbits. Refer to the NPCA publication 'Pest Rabbits: Monitoring and Control Good Practice Guidelines' for more information in the Library.

Repellents

Repellent preparations are designed to render plants unpalatable and unattractive to browsing wallabies or rabbits. Repellents are generally applied as foliar sprays, which have to be reapplied periodically to treat new growth occurring within browsing range (40cm - 50cm above ground level).

Fencing

When establishing a small horticultural block or nursery within an area containing a relatively high infestation of wallabies, the most cost-effective way of preventing wallaby damage may be exclusion fencing. Alternatively, electric fencing should effectively exclude wallabies. If possible, a mains powered energiser should be used. If using a battery unit, ensure that it is checked regularly and that the batteries are kept fully charged.

Ground baiting and bait stations

Targeting wallabies with hand broadcast or bait station application methods is essentially identical to established procedures used for possum control. As wallabies graze on vegetation close to the ground and are potentially excluded from accessing bait stations by possums, hand laying bait is likely to be the most effective approach. The only toxin registered for wallaby control is 1080. A range of bait station designs will suffice, although some styles which require an animal to stick their head in should be avoided, or modified. Check with your local regional council to see what works best in your circumstance. For more information about this licence and application forms, visit www.epa.govt.nz and www.business.govt.nz/worksafe.

For more specific information on controlling wallabies check out 'Pest Wallabies: Control and Monitoring of pest Dama and Bennett's Wallabies' in the Library. 

Legal requirements 

For a list of legal requirements check out the legal requirements page

Disclaimer

The information on this website is intended to provide information about pests and pest management in New Zealand. We've made every effort to make sure that the information set out in this website is accurate. If you have an update to the information listed here please contact us.

Photo credit: Matt Wakefield