Catch me if you can
The bridled nail tail wallaby is one of Australia’s smallest, fastest and most endangered wallabies.
There is one last stronghold population left in outback Queensland, Australia. Scientists and volunteers spend weeks monitoring the population each year in hope to save the species and assist in land management decisions, such as feral animal control.
It’s nickname flashjack comes from it’s speedy hop – keeping scientists on their toes during monitoring efforts of the population.
Way back in 1937, the bridled nailtail wallabyhad been declared extinct. So when it was rediscovered some 40 years later, conservationists began breeding the species in captivity.
Only a few wild populations still exist. A number were reintroduced to Avocet Nature Reserve in central Queensland between 2001 and 2005, in the hope the animals would eventually broaden their habitat range.
While the population at Avocet hangs on, it’s range is still limited. One key factor is habitat and the flashjack prffers brigalow, a silvery wattle tree that forms a dense shrubby woodland.
About 90% of Australia’s brigalow has been lost over the last 200 years, flattened with a bulldozer and chains in order to introduce an African pasture grass called buffel grass, as feed for cattle. This has left the species with only a few scattered patches in which to live.
So the efforts of scientists, volunteers and students are critical in order to keep stable numbers and inform land management decisions.