Wallaby discovery a concern for Taranaki

The discovery of a wallaby at Taranaki’s northern border is a real concern for the region.

It was announced yesterday(external link) a female wallaby with a joey in her pouch had been found in Mōkau. It is believed to have got there with human help, due to the distance from the dama wallaby containment area in the Bay of Plenty.

Initial indications are there is likely to be another wallaby still in the Mōkau area. 

Taranaki Regional Council Environment Services Manager Steve Ellis is imploring people not to transport wallabies into the region – or anywhere - for any reason.

“Wallabies may look cute but they are serious pests, with the potential to do significant damage to Taranaki’s environment and native species.  The last thing our farmers and landowners need is another pest species to contend with.”

He says the Council is in constant contact with Waikato Regional Council, which is leading the wallaby response and search.

Its dog surveillance team is set to extend its search area across the Mōkau River and into the Taranaki region.

“We’ve offered to support the response in any way we can, such as identifying search areas or liaising with landowners.

“While the Mōkau River will slow the movement of wallabies, there’s no guarantee it will stop them moving south. They only need to cross the bridge, or a narrower section of the river.”

The Council’s new joint project with Ministry for Primary Industries is working to raise public awareness of pest species that are not currently in Taranaki, but would be a threat were they to make it here. Wallabies were lower down that list, as they were considered to be fairly well confined in the Bay of Plenty.

“Now they are right at our border, it makes that threat much more urgent.”

People in the Mōkau area are asked to be vigilant and report any signs of wallabies to Waikato Regional Council Senior Biosecurity Officer Dave Byers on 0800 800 401.