Cute crit­ter comes ashore from Hay­man

Whitsunday Times - - YOUR SAY -

THIS young rock wal­laby, a rare find of an en­dan­gered species, was res­cued from Hay­man Is­land last week by Fauna Res­cue Whit­sun­days.

Iris, named af­ter the per­sis­tent cy­clone, was found, as­sumed to be aban­doned by her mother, by an is­land lo­cal and was trans­ported to the main­land.

FRW co-or­di­na­tor Kate Purvis said the species was en­dan­gered due to its lim­ited pop­u­la­tion and ge­o­graph­i­cally re­stricted nat­u­ral in­hab­i­tance.

Weigh­ing in at a mere 750grams, Iris is around six months old.

In March a younger rock wal­laby was res­cued, but didn’t sur­vive.

“Ruby weighed just 124g and was in a very com­pro­mised con­di­tion,” Ms Purvis said.

“They’re found nat­u­rally only in the Proserpine area. with one small group in a zoo on the Gold Coast.

“Since the cy­clone we def­i­nitely have had a re­duced num­ber of sight­ings by lo­cal res­i­dents.

“Back in the 90s na­tional parks ge­net­i­cally se­lected a pop­u­la­tion to be ar­ti­fi­cially placed on Hay­man Is­land as a back-up should the main­land’s pop­u­la­tion dras­ti­cally di­min­ish.”

Habi­tat loss, preda­tors and the fa­tal dis­ease tox­o­plas­mo­sis, car­ried by cats, pose the big­gest threat to the species.

PHOTO: LIZA SPARKE

CUTE AND CUD­DLY: A Proserpine rock wal­laby was trans­ferred to the main­land for care by mem­bers of Whit­sun­day Fauna and Res­cue last week.

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