Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

November 19th 2007
Sign helps wallaby diet

Friends Kelly Rosie and Carol A new sign was erected last week at the Arcadia barge landing on Geoffrey Bay to help stop visitors and locals from feeding the wallabies which gather there, or, at least, get them to change the foods they use from those which are damaging to those which are suitable.

The sign titled, "How can you help the rock wallabies" was organised by Friends of Magnetic Island member, Rosie Whalen, and is worth quoting for the benefit of readers.

It reads:

These wallabies have been artificially fed leading to an unnaturally large number of animals causing many problems.

For their well being it is preferable that you do not feed them.

Eating the wrong foods is detrimental to their health which can cause intestinal problems, blindness and slow death.

If you must feed them acceptable foods are: carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, paw paw, rockmelon or wallaby pellets.

NEVER feed them bread, lettuce, cabbage, rhubarb, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and common potatoes.


Rosie Whalen told Magnetic Times, 'There used to be a sign saying "definitely no bread" but it blew down after cyclone Larry. People have since fed them loaves of bread so I thought that if we can't stop them at least we should establish a sensible guide.'

Rosie commented that Magnetic Island's QPWS Ranger, Patrick Centurino, had advised that it is preferable that the wallabies should not be fed at all as it continues to build up the artificial population which is now about forty eight in number while the headland's natural vegetation would only support about four animals.

Many of the wallabies are considered to be in poor health and this is largely attributed to foods such as bread which, according to Rosie, makes the animal feel full but doesn't provide the necessary nutrition leading to illness.

Rosie was particularly thankful for the support of Fantasea Cruising Magnetic who sponsored the sign and hopes that a second sign may be erected towards the front of the shelter. She has also forwarded the wallaby-feeding information to Island accommodation houses for backpackers and tourists to learn about the animals needs in advance.

The correct wallaby feeding pellet packs can be purchased from the Nelly Bay Fish & Fuel shop on Mandalay Ave, Nelly Bay.

Photo: Friends of Magnetic Island members Kelly Marlin (left) with Rosie Whalen and Carol Pemberton beneath the new sign.

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Sign helps wallaby diet
 
4 comments
 
Jill
November 20th 2007
This is a difficult one.....
If we all stop feeding the wallabies today, all 48 wallabies living around the area face starvation. This surely is an unsatisfactory solution to the problem?
We could cull 44 of the wallabies. Can you imagine the outcry that would cause? Another unsatisfactory solution!
Possibly the most humane answer would be birth control - this has been researched quite a bit: I'm not sure if a successful method of inducing temporary or permanent sterility of macropods is yet available. Put that one on hold pending further information?
These wallabies have been hand-fed for many, many years. By maintaining this colony, feeding them suitable foods, NOT just the contents of the scrap bucket, we could improve their general health; also, having a single site where wallabies can be viewed and hand-fed, to some extent protects the rest of our wallaby population from undesirable human contact.
It appears to be a universal human trait, this desire to feed the animals which share our environment. People WILL do it - our best bet is to educate them to minimise harm. Teaching people what NOT to feed is a valuable first step.
 
kylie
November 20th 2007
Great idea! Its refreshing to see people of the island show so much interest and care in our wildlife - this way visitors and locals alike can continue to see what this lovely island has to offer. Most people who visit the wallabies just simply dont realise what the right thing to feed them is, so this is a good piece of knowledge.
 
Vivienne
November 21st 2007
The wallabies should only be given natural food. They could sell it to the tourists! Any other food should be banned. It needs to be supervised. They can't be allowed to starve, and culling is not humane or ethical. They should not be fed unsuitable food.
 
Skye
November 10th 2008
Signage is second nature to us once you step back & think about it. Being a city girl all my life, I now live on acreage surrounded by wildlife since I met my fiancee. My passion for animals took me by suprise. I too was unaware that bread was a NO NO till my fiancee brought this to my attention. Thanks to your sign Rosie, given the distance between us, your meassage has reached me & others I'm sure.


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