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New car park for Ben Lomond National Park


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Maria Island National Park

Macropod Management

From the late 1960s a number of native animals were introduced to Maria Island to enhance the nature reserve experience  for visitors. The resident populations of Tasmanian pademelons and Bennett’s wallabies were increased and Forester kangaroos suffering habitat loss on the Tasmanian mainland were relocated to the island as a conservation measure.  All adapted well to their new environment. Managing the macropod populations on Maria Island is a challenge as they have no natural predators and their populations increase significantly when pasture is plentiful.

The Parks and Wildlife Service's objective in managing the macropod populations on Maria Island is to conserve the island’s natural systems and biodiversity while also ensuring a viable, healthy animal population. 

This is based on scientific monitoring of three main indicators: the condition of the island’s pastures; the population and health of the three macropod species (Forester kangaroos, Bennett’s wallaby and Tasmanian pademelon); current and predicted rainfall and therefore available food; and the predicted rate of population increase.

Wildlife Management control of Macropods on Maria Island - update June 2019

The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has a responsibility to manage Maria Island in a way that conserves the island’s natural systems and biodiversity while also looking after the welfare of its animal species.

Population control for Maria Island’s macropods is an animal welfare issue. When their populations are too high, and drier conditions do not provide enough feed to support their numbers, animals become emaciated and distressed. There would also be unacceptable impacts on the island’s vegetation.

Maria Island is a unique situation. Although it is a national park, it has been significantly modified since early European settlement. The modified pastures currently grazed by the island’s macropods are annual grasses that die off during winter, in contrast to native grasses that are largely perennials. This can have significant impacts on the macropods’ physical health and condition. 

The decision as to whether population control operations are required is based on scientific monitoring and three main indicators; pasture condition, animal health and fecundity; current and predicted rainfall and therefore available food. This annual scientific program has been successfully implemented by the Parks and Wildlife Service and its partner agencies since 2011.

Population control is by spotlight shooting which is undertaken by skilled and experienced wildlife rangers, using best practice methods for humane shooting. Shooting operations and euthanasia procedures have been reviewed and approved by departmental veterinary officers and are overseen by animal welfare officers at all times during the operation.

Forester kangaroos (Eastern grey kangaroos) and Bennett’s wallabies are not native to the island. They were introduced in the late 1960s. 

A range of population control options have been considered including short and long term options, however many of them are impractical and/or not feasible. Relocation and other options that require individual capture and intervention, have significant animal welfare issues given that large macropods are particularly susceptible to adverse physical effects in captivity including fatal injuries.

PWS has examined various alternatives to population control and has found that the most humane method to control populations is shooting by highly trained, accredited and experienced wildlife management officers for whom animal welfare is a major priority in their work.

Further information is available in these documents: