Fleay’s welcomes arrival of once thought 'extinct' joeys
Issued: 6 Feb 2023
Rangers at David Fleay Wildlife Park on the Gold Coast have welcomed the arrival of three endangered bridled nailtail wallaby joeys, supporting conservation of the once thought ‘extinct’ species through education at the park.
The joeys, all female, started to emerge from their mothers’ pouches last month and are now learning to explore their surroundings.
Senior Ranger Miles Pritchett said the arrival of the new joeys meant the park’s education program about this threatened species could continue into the future.
“David Fleay Wildlife Park is the only place in the world where visitors can see bridled nailtail wallabies in a wildlife park setting,” Mr Pritchett said.
“We know that when people can see the animals we are working hard to conserve and increase their knowledge, it helps them connect with and understand why our ongoing efforts to recover the species are so important.
“We’re so excited to welcome the latest mob of joeys to the Fleay’s family.”
After facing threats including predation from feral animals and habitat alteration, the elusive species was thought to be extinct for more than 30 years, with no confirmed sightings since 1937.
Then, in 1973, a fencing contractor ‘re-discovered’ the wallabies on a property near Dingo in Central Queensland, now known as Taunton National Park (Scientific).
Today, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) works closely with the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby Recovery Team to conserve and improve the population, which currently sits at approximately 1,500.
Mr Pritchett said the breeding program at Fleay’s aimed to benefit the species by increasing public knowledge and awareness of the endangered status and recovery needs.
“This creates more genuine champions to support conservation through action,” he said.
“We’re grateful for the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby Recovery Team for their work to support our wallabies at Fleay’s, and for the ongoing efforts of the QPWS Wildlife and Threatened Species teams leading the recovery programs to improve the conservation of the species in the wild.”
Bridled Nailtail Wallaby Recovery Team Chair Dr Alistair Melzer said the new joeys would help promote public education and awareness for the species.
“We see the community engagement with the bridled nailtail wallabies and their new joeys at Fleay's, and associated messaging on the conservation and recovery needs of this species, as an important element of the recovery program,” Dr Melzer said.
“I look forward to visitors from all over the world visiting the David Fleays Wildlife Park and learning about this endangered species and what efforts are being made to protect them and other species.”
The Queensland Government has provided an additional approximately $40 million to save our threatened species which supports the delivery of the Queensland Threatened Species Program and South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy.