Wild Mob is pioneering a new approach to threatened species management to save the cutest wallaby in Australia – the Bridled Nailtail (a.k.a Flashjack). A new approach is definitely needed. There are only around 300 Nailtails left in the wild.
Research shows that 47% of juveniles don’t make it to adulthood, largely due to feral cats.
The solution to save the Nailtail is relatively simple. We need to protect juvenile wallabies in a custom-built nursery until they gain enough weight to become an unsavoury target of the feral cat and other predators.
While we continue to control predators and monitor nailtails across Avocet Nature Refuge, having the nursery on site will boost the adult breeding population and in turn increase our total population of this handsome endangered wallaby.
What are we doing?
The 9-hectare enclosure will use state of the art monitoring technologies to ensure efficient, hands-off management. It will be as though the Nailtails were still living in the wild. The only difference is that they’ll be safe from predation.
Females will be housed until their young are weened and independent, juveniles will be housed until they weigh in excess of 3kgs and are outside the preferred prey weight range of feral cats. Once they have gained this weight, they will be released back into the Avocet Nature Refuge to thrive and breed
Simple, effective and most importantly achievable.
This project brings together a reliable and experienced range of stakeholders including the Queensland government, a private landowner, the University of NSW and local community. Collectively, we have over 60 years of experience and we’ve achieved a lot in the past 5 years:
- Bolstered predator monitoring and control efforts
- Established a basic but functional field station
- Developed a first of its kind partnership with UNSW, ensuring vital annual monitoring is achieved while students complete a unique conservation in practice course
- Studied predator behaviour and habitat use to better inform control strategies
- Supervised postgraduate research on localised predator prey preferences and prevalence of introduced diseases
- Built the Nursery! a 9ha predator exclusion area of prime habitat to safeguard young juvenile Bridled nailtails
What does the future hold for Avocet?
While we have big ambitions for Avocet and the greater Brigalow region our immediate priorities are:
- Growing the Avocet Bridled nailtail wallaby population
- Managing the nursery in the least invasive way possible
- Continuing predator research, monitoring and control
- Further developing our understanding of the distribution of nailtails across Avocet and neighbouring properties
- Conducting a thorough population census in 2016 via genetic hair sampling