New endangered species gains sanctuary in Barrington Tops' Aussie Ark

BRUSH-TAILED HOPE: One of the two Brush-tailed rock-wallabies recently released into Aussie Ark wildlife sanctuary in Barrington Tops. Picture: Aussie Ark
BRUSH-TAILED HOPE: One of the two Brush-tailed rock-wallabies recently released into Aussie Ark wildlife sanctuary in Barrington Tops. Picture: Aussie Ark

TWO Brush-tailed rock-wallabies have been introduced to a wildlife sanctuary in Barrington Tops. They are the first of their species to join the conservation effort. 

Funding from the state government, worth $15,000, will go towards establishing a breeding program for the rock-wallabies at a conservation facility run by charity Aussie Ark. 

The Brush-tailed rock-wallaby is listed as endangered under theNSW Biodiversity Conservation Act. The population of the marsupials is in decline, with less than 20,000 thought to be left in the wild. 

The pair of  Brush-tailed rock-wallabies will join Tasmanian devils, Eastern bettongs and Southern brown bandicoots also living in the predator-free zone. 

NEW HOME: A new wallaby at the Aussie Ark wildlife sanctuary. Picture: Aussie Ark

NEW HOME: A new wallaby at the Aussie Ark wildlife sanctuary. Picture: Aussie Ark

“We are very proud to be working closely with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage to save this species,” said Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner. 

“However, it’s a sad reality that our wildlife needs to be kept within fenced sanctuaries to ensure their safety. Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world and we can’t let this species go down that path.”

The wallabies will be joined by a dozen more in coming months. 

Wildlife enthusiasts on the internet have been given the honour of naming another vulnerable marsupial being cared for in the region. 

Somersby’s Australian Reptile Park asked social media followers to come up with a name for a koala being hand-raised by zoo keepers. 

After “thousands” of entries, the park announced on Monday the seven-month-old joey would be called Gumnut. 

Keeper Hayley Shute has been raising the joey by hand because his mother was unable to produce milk.

Acting as an adoptive parent has meant waking up at 2am for feeds and even collecting feces from the joey’s mother in order to facilitate a practice called papping, in which baby koalas eat digested eucalyptus leaves to build up tolerance to the toxins inside the foliage.

Ms Shute said the name, suggested by a “a few” people on Facebook, was an immediate favourite.

“Picking the name Gumnut was an easy decision, we all knew as soon as we saw it, that it fit perfectly,” she said.

“He is such an adorable little ball of fun and is now just becoming more curious with the world around him.”