Councils join forces to control wallabies in Canterbury and Otago

Environment Canterbury and Otago Regional Council are encouraging people to report wallaby sightings as part of efforts to control these serious pests. See also our new video below, on the serious damage these pests are causing to our environment

Containment area

Wallaby containment area

Signs have been erected along the two region’s borders encouraging anyone who has seen a wallaby to report their sighting to the national website so the relevant council can investigate.

A follow-up search of the area is then undertaken by contractors who control any wallaby found.

Environment Canterbury has also released an informative video about the damage that wallabies cause to our environment and farmland, and the work being done to combat their spread.

Wallabies are considered a pest under both council’s Regional Pest Management Plans due to the harm they cause to biodiversity and productive land.

Canterbury has a containment area for wallabies that includes 900,000 hectares of land in South Canterbury, centred in the Hunter Hills, but also including the Two Thumb, Kirkliston and Grampian ranges.

In Otago, wallabies are listed as an eradication species, and all efforts are focused on the complete removal of them from the region in the medium term. For this plan to work, both councils need support from the public to report any sightings outside of the Canterbury containment area, including the whole of Otago.

Our Wallaby Programme Leader, Brent Glentworth, said the signs have been placed in high traffic areas surrounding the containment area to target travellers who may not be aware of the animal’s pest status.

“As well as looking out for the animals themselves, anyone out and about is also encouraged to look for signs such as footprints or droppings (PDF file, 1.85MB),” he said.

National Wallaby Eradication Programme

Watch our video on the Bennett's wallaby problem

Video on the Bennett's wallaby problem - a hop, skip and jump away from devastation

The two councils work together as part of the National Wallaby Eradication Programme which has provided $27 million worth of funding over four years nationally to reduce and contain populations of wallabies and boost regional employment opportunities, delivering environmental and economic benefits.

Otago Regional Council Environmental Implementation Manager, Andrea Howard, said that while Otago has relatively low numbers of wallabies, it’s extremely important that any sightings are reported, to enable contract teams to search and destroy any wallaby present and prevent breeding populations from establishing in Otago.

“Wallabies compete with livestock, with three wallabies eating as much as one sheep. They can foul pasture, damage fences, destroy agricultural crops, contribute to erosion and kill plantation forest seedlings. Wallabies also stop native bush regeneration by depleting forest understories,” she said.

A female wallaby can have one joey developing in her pouch while also carrying another fertilised embryo ‘on hold’ until the joey is no longer dependent on her. This means that a single female could stem a breeding population.

If left unchecked, they could spread to over a third of the country over the next 50 years.

Seen one? Say so!

Reporting wallaby sightings is a way everyone can help protect our environment and treasured biodiversity.

If you see a wallaby outside the Canterbury containment area report it