The beloved Wangarru can be seen only in Mutawintji National Park and Nature Reserve in the Far West and outback-South Australia
The NSW government has been keeping tabs on the Wangarru for 40 years. Recently, invasive predators like cats and foxes, and droughts have brought their numbers low to just 60 individuals from 150.
Sarah Bell (the project officer said):
But rain from March caused the ground cover to grow back and the wallabies have started breeding again, and this latest count in July we recorded 75 wallabies.Sarah Bell
Dr. Bell works for the Save Our Species conservation action program facilitated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which works to save endangered species the world over.
We were getting quite concerned, because 60 in one population is such a small number of animals to represent a species distribution in NSW. If you put the population count on top of rainfall data, it’s really quite amazing how closely it corresponds.Dr Bell
Leroy Johnson is Mutawintji’s Park Manager and a Barkindji Aboriginal man. He referred to the Wangarru as special. In an interview with ABC news Australia, Johnson revealed that his people “take it very seriously to look after not only those animals, but the habitat they live in.”
He and his staff put out feeding and watering stations throughout the park to help the animals through the dry period.
If the numbers are good then the land and the country is healthy too… we take pride in the fact that they’re there.Leroy Johnson
However attached the Barkindji are with the cute rock wallaby, another bad drought could easily wipe out the remaining population, so Dr. Bell is working with the Mutawintji Land Council on relocation projects to create subpopulations elsewhere in the state.
This tactic, used to help restore California condors for example, is quite common when there are few animals but ample territory where they can live.