After a three-year battle, a Cairns-based wildlife rescue group has finally received a State Government permit for Australia’s largest ever macropod relocation.
The Agile Wallaby Project has been campaigning to relocate 400 wallabies that have been displaced because of development on the northern beaches of Cairns, and move them to a safer location.
The fight took them all the way to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, where they took on the Queensland Environment Department, and won.
Shai Ager spearheaded the project from the beginning and said it was a huge relief to finally receive the permit.
“It’s been such a long struggle to get this permission, it’s almost hard to believe.
“In the last 15 months, more than 750 wallabies have died in the area, which is about half of the current population. It’s heartbreaking.”
The three-year permit comes with 20 conditions that must be adhered to, including the stipulation that only 10 wallabies are able to be moved each day and a vet must be present every day of the relocation process.
“In the long run, these conditions might work out for the best,” Ms Ager said.
“As wildlife carers we need to make the decision whether to put animals down every day, but if we have a vet there, no-one will be able to question what we’re doing.
Group still looking for help to achieve the Australia’s largest relocation effort
Ms Ager said the project was still fundraising to buy the state-of-the-art safe cages needed to ensure the animals are not harmed during the relocation process and also called for donations of food for the animals.
“We’re looking for as many sweet potatoes as possible,” she said.
“They’re going to be our luring substance, so if anyone knows a farmer who has sweet potatoes they’d like to donate, we’d love to hear from them.”
The relocation will be the biggest ever in Australian history, so the group is committed to making it best-practice.
“We’re going to make sure that we do this as well as we can, because if we mess this one up, then that’s going to mess them up for the rest of Australia,” Ms Ager said.
The relocation is expected to begin within the coming weeks.