Rock Wallaby Deaths on Magnetic Island
Pictured above: Two Rock Wallabies on Magnetic Island. Photo courtesy Wallaby Refuge Magnetic Island
A recent spate of wallaby deaths in a very small area in Nelly Bay have been detected, in total 23 rock wallabies have died.
A spokesperson for DES told the MCN “Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) can confirm the deaths of three rock wallabies due to toxoplasmosis.”
Pictured above: One of the rock wallabies tested for toxoplasmosis. Photo courtesy Wallaby Refuge Magnetic Island
DES spokesperson went on to say “While cat faeces can be a source of toxoplasmosis, it is not the only source, and in this case the source of infection has not yet been identified.”
A TCC spokesperson told the MCN “Council has been made aware that there have been recent deaths of rock wallabies on Magnetic Island which is believed to be from a parasite which is transmitted by cats, whether domestic or feral, residents to need be diligent in meeting their responsibilities for keeping their pet cats adequately enclosed within their property.”
There have been calls for feral cat trapping on the island, a spokesperson for DES said “ QPWS undertakes feral cat trapping programs as needed following observations of increased feral cat presence and activity in the national park.
There is currently no trapping program in place for Nelly Bay or for Magnetic Island.
The most recent trapping program was conducted in 2017 and resulted in the capture of one feral cat.
Since 2005, a total of 86 feral cats have been captured and euthanised by QPWS.”
A spokesperson for TCC told the MCN “Over 75% of Magnetic Island is National Park and any management plan for feral cats would need to be coordinated through a collaborative approach through the State Government.”
Magnetic Island Nature Care President Gethin Morgan told the MCN “I am very disappointed with the response from both the State Government and Townsville City Council, they should be treating this matter with urgency”.
Spokesperson for TCC went on to say “Local Law 2 Animal Management requires owners to prevent their pets from wandering or leaving their property. Residents are urged to call Council to collect any wandering cats that they may come across so officers can attend and impound the animal. “
DES spokesperson said ” Pest management, which includes managing feral cats, is a cross landscape issue and every landholder has a responsibility to contribute to managing pests on their land, and where cats are kept as pets, responsibly managing their interactions with the natural environment is important.”
TCC spokesperson concluded by saying “However, Council is reviewing Local Law 2 Animal Management later in the year. The community will be invited to provide feedback on cat management on the Island while this review is underway.”
The Magnetic Island Resident & Ratepayers Association along with others, have been requesting for several years to have the return of a designated Animal Management Officer based on Magnetic Island.
Darrie Lisle Co-Ordinator of the Wallaby Refuge told the MCN “ Wallaby Refuge on Magnetic Island can be contacted for any wallaby that shows signs of illness as these animals can be cured if received and diagnosed in time.”
Pictured above: One of the island's iconic Rock Wallabies on the Presto Breakwater at the harbour. Photo Debbie Denison