Environment Canterbury welcomes Otago wallaby control funding

Environment Canterbury welcomed the announcement by the Otago Regional Council that it had allocated $273,000 for a programme targeting reduction of Bennett’s wallaby numbers in the region.

Bennett's Wallaby pestEnvironment Canterbury Chief Executive Bill Bayfield said this funding would enable the stepping up of collaborative effort to co-ordinate surveillance and control programmes for this highly mobile pest on the boundary of the two regions. 

“Wallabies don’t respect borders,” Mr Bayfield said.

“The integrated programme we already have in place will be enhanced by this funding so we can ramp up our efforts. The wallabies aren’t resting on their haunches and neither can we – ongoing effort will be needed to contain their spread.”

Working together to control wallabies

Graham Sullivan, Environment Canterbury Regional Leader Biosecurity, said the two regional councils were already collaborating on wallaby surveillance, control and data sharing. 

“Our field staff are working together and training together,” Mr Sullivan said. “This and the extra funding will help us meet the strong community expectation that wallaby spread will be contained."

“We are also looking at the potential for different approaches to containment through the current review of the Canterbury Regional Pest Management Plan and a national programme also involving Bay of Plenty Regional Council. We welcome new ideas via consultation processes and other channels.” 

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Why are they a pest

Wallabies are an “unwanted organism” under the Biosecurity Act and are identified as pest animals in the Pest Management Plans of both Canterbury and Otago. It is illegal for people to keep, capture or release wallabies elsewhere.

Wallabies compete with stock for pasture and can damage crops and trees. They can easily adapt to changing habitat and can thrive in many environments from forests to open country.