Iconic wal­laby back from the brink

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By XIN­HUA in Can­berra

An iconic Aus­tralian wal­laby has made it back from the brink of ex­tinc­tion af­ter a breed­ing pro­gram was launched to save the species.

The black-flanked rock wal­laby was thought to have been ex­tinct for decades un­til a group of rock climbers in Western Aus­tralia spot­ted a pair of the mar­su­pi­als with their young in 2015.

The sight­ing prompted an im­me­di­ate re­sponse by con­ser­va­tion­ists.

With fund­ing from the World Wildlife Foun­da­tion, Aus­tralian sci­en­tists were able to breed 23 wal­la­bies and re­lease them back into Kal­barri National Park.

An­thony Des­mond, the na­ture con­ser­va­tion leader at the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife said that the an­i­mals ap­peared to have as­sim­i­lated well into their new habi­tats with all but one sur­viv­ing.

“So to have 22 an­i­mals that we sus­pect are still alive - and we def­i­nitely know 10 of them are still alive - that’s a good out­come af­ter this time pe­riod,” Des­mond said.

The re­search team set up a net­work of mo­tion sens­ing cam­eras in the gorge to cap­ture rare footage of the typ­i­cally shy wal­la­bies.

The gorges in the Kal­barri National Park were once home to the largest pop­u­la­tion of the wal­la­bies in the world.

Corin Des­mond, An­thony’s son and a fel­low mem­ber of the re­search team, said he hopes the pub­lic will one day be able to see the wal­la­bies up close.

“I re­ally hope that they get back to the orig­i­nal numbers and that peo­ple can just come down and see a rock wal­laby hang­ing around at the bot­tom of a look­out,” he said.

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