The Friends of the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby group began in Kangaroo Valley NSW in 1995 in an effort to preserve a remnant population of rock wallabies, struggling against the effects of feral predators. The group and those involved with it, is an example of public-private partnership in its finest form – a collaborative approach between community and government, designed to deliver biodiverse local communities, which in turn can inspire a shift towards further improvements in local-scale land management.
The presence of this threatened species has encouraged landowners to manage their land with a view towards conserving their unique local wildlife. This has flowed further, with landowners being more open-minded and engaged with attempting to improve their total land management approach, including their agricultural production methods. And it’s clear that the future of Kangaroo Valley will be more resilient with a synchronicity between healthy biodiversity and healthy agriculture. The importance of such a program is therefore clearly as much about community ‘togetherness’ and an understanding of the importance of healthy ecosystems and farmlands as it is about saving the rock wallaby.
The documentary highlights the ongoing battle between ‘man and fox’ and in doing so identifies a need to look beyond traditional methods of baiting and shooting our feral predators; perhaps towards more targeted forms of pest control (like viral or immunocontraceptive controls for foxes), or perhaps an even a more natural potential line of defence – the Tasmanian devil.
The success of the Friends of the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby program highlights the need for champions on both sides of a partnership, who continue to push a project forward even when the going gets tough. The dedicated Melinda Norton and Juliet Dingle from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW OEH) are just that. And then there the inter-generational community advocates, with Chris Pryor the latest to head up the Friends of the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby group.
Rewilding Australia hopes you enjoy their short documentary, and trust that it will inspire other communities and those within government land-management roles to seek out projects that aim to collaboratively restore our unique environment.