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26 February, 2021

Safe home for wallabies

THE nation’s largest wallaby relocation is on track to start next month after The Agile Project Wildlife Rescue Group received a long-awaited cash injection to fund the work.

By Nicole Gibson

Project leader Shai Ager and Councillor Brett Olds

At a Cairns Regional Council meeting (CRC) earlier this month, Divison 9 Councillor Brett Olds moved a motion for Council to donate $5000 towards the relocation and it passed unanimously.

Bluewater developers, Brookefield Residential Properties, and Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford had previously each agreed to match the funds if CRC donated, bringing funds secured for the relocation to $15,000.

Since 2017, The Agile Project has been working to secure permits and funding to move 400 wallabies pushed out of their bush homeland due to housing development in Trinity Beach.

Project leader Shai Ager said the money would go towards best practice relocation training and monitoring by Australia’s most experienced wallaby relocation expert, ecologist Damian Morrant, as well as transport and medical care costs.

 “We have to have monitoring strategies in place for the relocated wallabies, just to prove that they are surviving and thriving,” Ms Ager said.

“He’s training 10 of our people on how to do the relocation to best practice.

“It’s really exciting, he’s got the most experienced out of anyone in Australia to relocate wallabies.”

The relocated wallabies will be taken to new habitats away from encroaching urbanisation and will mix with existing wallabies there.

In another win for the organisation, CRC have commenced work on $122,000 worth of fencing along the roadside at Trinity Beach to reduce the number of highway collisions with the animals.

There were approximately 500 wallabies killed in the area last year with 90% of them due to vehicle collisions.

Long-time supporter of the project, Cr Olds said it was a great outcome for the organisation and one the community cared strongly about.

“I speak to hundreds and hundreds of people a month from all different backgrounds… and 75-80 percent of the people I speak to ask about the wallabies so it’s a big community concern,” Cr Olds said.

“I feel sorry for the animals, they’re just living their lives, developments going on around them.”

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