||This project has been operating since 2005. The project manages the remaining populations of warru, P. lateralis (MacDonnell Ranges race), in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, South Australia.
The warru (Black-footed Rock Wallaby) management program covers two areas:
1.a captive population of warru contained within a predator proof fence (the pintji);
2.wild populations in the Musgrave and Tomkinson Ranges.
The captive population is managed with the long term objective of releasing them back into wild to supplement existing wild populations. The wild populations are managed with the long term objective of arresting and eventually reversing the historical population decline.
Early stages of the project were based on opportune sightings and signs (primarily scats), including historic records through old scats.
The Warru Recovery Program's management aims are as follows:
monitor the status of captive and wild populations (trapping, radio collar tracking, remote cameras, scat counts)
manage feral flora and fauna threats (baiting, shooting, spraying)
conduct proactive habitat management (burning)
support wild populations through provision of additional resources (supplementary feeding and watering)
Trapping of the captive population (twice a year - biannually), and wild population (every second year- biennial), and use of radio collars, significantly assists in fulfilling the first of these project aims.
The hypothesis of this project relates to habitat use, threats and dispersion of warru, they include:
Long-term population trends monitored by the trapping program may reveal influences of changing environmental conditions due in part to management actions and climatic variation.
Warru numbers may be larger than estimated, particularly in contiguous parts of the Tomkinson and Hinckley Ranges.
As many warru food plants are very fire sensitive, we expect that populations are extremely threatened by large bushfires. However, it is possible warru may be pushed out of areas which have been affected by bush fire but may manage to persist in adjacent areas provided there enough vegetation and / or water.
The environment of the pintji is suitable to support a captive population of healthy warru, and that they can be managed to ensure genetic diversity.
The areas where warru populations are currently stable may be suitable for translocation of captive bred warru from the pintji, however, current and detailed information is required about the sex ratios, habitat use and mortality of populations currently occupying these areas.
There is movement between adjacent hills on the Eastern side of the APY Lands (Musgrave Ranges) and movement between sections of both the Tomkinson and Hinckley Ranges on the Western side.
Warru conservation therefore relies on continued broad-scale management such as fire/buffel grass management, predator control and detailed searches of other sections of these ranges for satellite populations. The trapping program, and radio collar tracking, has informed management protocols for this species, and continues to do so.
This proposed research is a progression of previous research which informs about warru population numbers, habitat use and survivorship for management and conservation purposes.