14 July 2022
TREE PLANTING FOR ROCK WALLABIES
Nearly 30 WWF supporters recently rolled up their sleeves to help revegetate black-flanked rock-wallaby habitat at the Nangeen Hill Nature Reserve, three hours east of Perth.
Over two days, volunteers worked hard to put 5,000 plants into the ground, which included grasses, herbs, shrubs, and trees. Funded by WWF supporters, these plants will provide long-term food for the rock-wallabies, prevent soil erosion, increase plant biodiversity, and reduce grazing pressures and food competition between species.
The Nangeen Hill population of rock-wallabies plummeted to just five individuals in 2011, prompting WWF and the WA Parks and Wildlife Service to join forces to help them bounce back. In 2013, thanks to WWF supporters, a five-kilometre-long fence was erected around Nangeen Hill to protect the wallabies from their two biggest predators: foxes and feral cats. WWF supporters also funded the translocation of 17 additional individuals at that time to help sustain the dwindled population and provide genetic diversity.
In the 10 years since the fence was built and the additional individuals were introduced, the rock-wallaby population at Nangeen Hill has recovered gallantly, climbing to 110 individuals today. In that time, not a single fox or cat has been recorded on any of the trail cameras within the 176-hectare enclosure.
Volunteers for the revegetation project included Partners in Conservation, members of the Living Planet Legacy Society, and a group of our workplace giving partners. They were supervised from above by dozens of rock-wallabies as they basked in the sun and encouraged us to plant their dinners more quickly.
The wallabies’ ruddy fur blended in perfectly with their rocky backdrop, nearly impossible to spot when not in motion. For the most part, they seemed perfectly happy to sit back and watch the work, but every once in a while, a wedge-tailed eagle, one of their few predators undeterred by the fence, would appear in the sky to circle overhead, and the supervisors would rush inside their cavernous outcrop until the threat had passed.
It will take a few years to fully see the fruits of this winter’s revegetation work. But we know from the last decade of watching their population grow that all good things come to those who wait.
This project is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.
Want to get involved?
If you’d like to join WWF volunteer experiences like this one in the future, find out how you can become a Partner in Conservation, member of the Living Planet Legacy Society, or Workplace Giving partner.