Caught on camera

Maniototo Pest Management set up a game camera on a site in the hills around the Maniototo and it...
Maniototo Pest Management set up a game camera on a site in the hills around the Maniototo and it captured these images. They were taken from November 19 to December 11. Photos: Supplied
Wallaby numbers are increasing in the Maniototo and more resources and funding are needed to deal with the pest, Maniototo Pest Management manager Ossie Brown says.

Mr Brown said wallaby numbers were getting out of hand with the number of sightings increasing.

They had been seen right across Otago, including around Tarras, coastal Otago and right up to below Oamaru.

''There was one running around a couple's backyard coming into Naseby two weeks before Christmas,'' Mr Brown said.

''We killed 10 wallabies last year throughout the Maniototo and the year before we got two.

''Four years ago we did not have them.''

Animals have been killed close to the Ranfurly township, and game cameras in the surrounding hills have taken images of males, females and young ones.

The animals started moving from the containment area in Canterbury, into North Otago several years ago, and had made their way further south through the mountain ranges.

He said breeding populations had been established, but because wallabies preferred to spend most of their time under cover in the scrub in the hills, it was difficult to know just how many there were.

Otago Regional Council (ORC) funds the eradication programme for wallabies and Maniototo Pest Management (MPM) works closely with the council staff.

In addition to shooting them, Mr Brown and MPM and council staff had started laying poison in two areas in October/November and again before Christmas.

''The trouble with poisoning is that the country is very rough with a lot of cover and growth so we [often] can't recover the bodies, so we do not know just how many were killed.

''We need an injection of more money to fund [alternative eradication] methods.''

He said they had were using Feratox at the moment but in the future would probably have to consider large scale poisoning.

He had not seen any evidence that wallabies had been released in the area on purpose.

He said MPM had been working closely with council staff to address the problem since the wallabies were first spotted in the region.

An ORC biodiversity spokesman said the council was considering what further action it could take.

''We don't want wallabies ruining our environment and [we] are taking action to ensure they don't.''

''As standard, we notified the public and undertook a poison operation (encapsulated cyanide) in the area.

''Our monitoring hasn't found any signs of wallabies in this area since.

''We really want the public's help to ensure we get rid of this pest.

''Our advice is if you see or kill any wallabies, please report this to the council.

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