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The control of pest wallaby populations


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Gregory, Graham 1989 , 'The control of pest wallaby populations', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Two species of wallabies present in Tasmania, Macropus
rufogriseus and Thylogale billardierii, have been demonstrated to
cause significant economic loss to the grazing industries.
Preliminary investigations into quantifying the competition between
wallabies and livestock have shown losses of 11.3. to 17.1 kg dry
matter per ha per day, which can be converted to a gross cost of
between $140 and $400 per ha per year. The need for the control of
wallaby populations arises from these potential losses and will be
justified from an analysis of the anticipated benefits and the
anticipated costs.

One method of wallaby control that is commonly used in Tasmania
is by poisoning with sodium monofluoroacetate (compound 1080). T.
billardierii were shown to be susceptible to poisoning techniques
developed for rabbit control. That is they readily find and consume
chopped carrot bait distributed in a shallow furrow and are
sufficiently sensitive to 1080 to be poisoned by a toxic loading of
0.014%. M. rufogriseus populations are however not as readily
controlled using the same technique.

The acceptability of chopped carrot bait to M. rufogriseus is not
as good as that of dry bran/pollard bait in spring when there is a
plentiful supply of green pasture available. Bran or pollard bait is
therefore recommended as an alternative bait for wallaby control.
Although there is no significant evidence of birds eating this bait,
it is considered by wildlife authorities that pelleted bait may be
less attractive to birds. These were not found to be well accepted by
wallabies although are commonly used in New Zealand and other
Australian States so are worthy of further investigation.

Field investigations have shown that for the control of M.
rufogriseus by poisoning with 1080 no significant differences in
mortality rates could be obtained by (1) using 0.028% 1080 on bait
compared to the normally recommended 0.014%, (2) using or not using a
furrow for marking the bait line, (3) baiting with chopped carrot or
dry bran or pollard, or (4) placing the bait line in the bush compared
to about 20 m into the paddock.

It is recommended that when attempting to control M. rufogriseus
by poisoning, control should take place in summer or autumn when
alternative food is not so readily available and that particular
attention should be given to adequately free feeding and providing
plenty of bait for all wallabies present. The concentration of 3.080
on bait should remain at 0.014%. Further investigations are required
to ascertain whether surviving wallabies have eaten any of the bait,
or whether the mortality rate can be improved by other changes to the
poisoning routine, such as repeated poisonings.

The protection of crops from wallabies by the use of electric
fences is a promising alternative to poisoning. An effective fence
must be evenly graded and have the lowest wire no more than 75 mm
above the ground to prevent wallabies from creating a runway under the
fence. The most effective fence design so far tested for wallaby
control consists of six wires all with 75 mm spaces and the lowest 75
mm from the ground. The second, fourth and sixth wire from the around
should be electrified.

Further research is required to report in more detail the
economic effects of competition between wallabies and agriculture, to
further assess the effectiveness of improved poisoning techniques, and
to further investigate the use of electric fencing for wallaby

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Gregory, Graham
Keywords: Wallabies
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1989 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Library has additional copy on microfiche. Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1989. Includes bibliographical references

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