Fencing out foxes to protect the endangered Southern Brush Tail Rock Wallaby
Case Study: Odonata Foundation – VIC
View over the protected Widgewah Conservation Reserve site.
Since its formation in 2016, the Odonata Foundation has engaged with seven First Nations groups, and worked with hundreds of businesses, farms, entrepreneurs, and thousands of citizen scientists, to protect over 49,000ha of habitat. The endangered wildlife that has benefited from the Foundation’s work includes the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Bush Stone Curlew and Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby.
With between 100 and 170 Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies estimated to currently exist in Australia, the threat of the Black Summer Bushfires was almost enough to wipe out the entire species. With a goal of conserving the species and improving their resilience against future events, the Odonata Foundation were thrilled to receive a 2021 Gallagher Landcare Electric Fencing Grant, helping them to transform Widgewah Conservation Reserve into Australia’s largest fenced safe haven for the Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby.
Using Gallagher iSeries Energizer fencing due to its remote monitoring capabilities, the Odonata Foundation had complete confidence in being able to keep foxes out of the fenced sanctuary, protecting the wallabies with the goal of seeing their population double in size.
- Widgewah Conservation Reserve was selected as the project site due to its importance in the conservation of the Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby.
- Gallagher representatives were involved in the project, along with volunteers and staff from the Odonata Foundation.
- 4500m of electrified predator proof fencing was installed by representatives and volunteers to protect 80ha of critical habitat.
- 20 people were involved in the project, including 10 volunteers working over 250 volunteer hours.
The environmental outcomes achieved by this project are very promising, with hot wires stopping threats to native plants and animals, including browsing or trampling by herbivores (stock, rabbits and kangaroos), human damage and introduced pests.
To support the fencing work, the site has also seen 2000 native trees planted, with the Odonata Foundation planning to introduce the critically endangered Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby to the site in autumn following the completion of pest control.
“Without the Gallagher telemetry system we would not be able to keep Widgewah reserve pest free and allow our critically endangered Southern Brush-tail Rock-wallabies to thrive.” – Scott Groves, Widgewah Conservation Reserve Manager
Community and Social Outcomes
Community engagement with groups including Mt Rothwell Landcare, Odonata and the
Stones Forestry Group was critical to completing this important project. Groups worked together to learn new skills, engage in fauna and flora identification and learnt about the vision for the survival and future for the Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby. Knowledge sharing was recognised as a key engagement tool and helped excite the team about completing the fencing project.
Receiving the Gallagher system is a critical step in moving the Widgewah Conservation Reserve toward being pest free. The Odonata Foundation is now beginning additional pest control with the hope of introducing the founding Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies during the autumn of 2022.
The Odonata Foundation’s work with the Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby is a key example of how sanctuaries play a critical role in the breeding, protection and survival of threatened species. The newly fenced Widgewah Conservation reserve is an important step towards down-listing the Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby’s conservation status, with the goal of eventually allowing them to thrive beyond-the-fence.
Gallagher Electric fence energizer used to improve the Odonata Foundation’s ability to keep foxes out of the fenced sanctuary.