Wallaby killed by vehicle near city

A wallaby killed by a vehicle at Evansdale, north of Dunedin, is just one of three reported in Otago last year.

Wallabies are considered a pest under the Otago Regional Council's pest strategy so people risk five years in jail or a $100,000 fine if they knowingly move a wallaby into the region.

Bennett wallabies have been established in the Waimate region for more than a century and have spread to the Mackenzie Country. They graze on grass, small trees and shrubs, putting forestry plantation, pasture and native plants at risk.

There have been sightings of wallabies around the borders of the region for the past few years.

Council regional services director Jeff Donaldson said the wallaby at Evansdale was reported by a member of the public and an autopsy of the animal was carried out.

''We were very surprised to see the one at Evansdale.''

It was thought the wallaby had probably been released in the area.

Another was reported seen alive in the Hampden area and the third in the Dunstan Hills behind St Bathans, where they had been sighted in the past.

The third was shot and killed.

The council believed the wallabies found in Otago were most likely released in the region. It was an offence to knowingly transfer a pest under the Biosecurity Act and landowners who discovered one on their land were required to destroy it and advise the regional council.

- rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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