10 Dec 2012

Pet wallabies spreading in Bay of Plenty

6:35 am on 10 December 2012

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is trying to get the jump on an animal pest to stop it spreading across the region.

Dama wallabies from Australia have existed in the Rotorua lakes area for 100 years, after being released there in 1912.

But they have been spreading further east, towards the coast.

Council land manager Greg Corbett said there are signs that some people have been treating the wallabies as pets instead of pests, but he says people need to realise they are not as cute as they look.

He said they have an appetite for native bush and can also damage crops and forestry plantations.

Mr Corbett said there have been a number of reports of wallabies in and around towns and in a couple of cases the wallabies have been wearing collars which is a clear indication they are escaped pets or people have released them.

He said the main concern is that people take them from areas where they have already established into new areas and if they escape they will start up new populations which will cause more problems in the future.

Anyone spotting a Dama wallaby west of Rotorua, east of Kawerau and south of Rainbow Mountain should call Bay of Plenty Regional Council at 0508 WALLABY.