IT'S A tiny endangered wallaby, living right on our doorstep, and it needs your help.
Tina Janssen, has housed bridled nailtails at Safe Haven (Australian Animals Care & Education) for 15 years and says people need to know the truth - the bridled nailtail is in trouble.
Safe Haven is appealing to the public to help fund efforts to save the species from extinction.
The Mount Larcom facility has run a captive breeding program with the wallabies to provide animals for release into existing and yet to be established refuges.
The range occupied by the minute 5kg wallaby has shrunk enormously since pre-European settlement, when it was believed to have extended as far south as Victoria and as far north as Townsville.
Now the only significant, wild population of nailtails are at Taunton National Park, near Dingo.
Safe Haven has about 30 of the nailtails, kept in long vegetation covered enclosures where they can do what they do best - hide.
"We can go into their pens and quite often you don't see one animal even though there might be 12 animals in that pen," Ms Janssen said.
The wallabies forage in their pens and their diet is supplemented with quality feed and sweet potatoes.
Although there are only 30 of them, Ms Janssen said these wallabies represent "the only captive breeding, genetically proven population, for the species".
"We do hold an insurance population, if the population crashes at Taunton this is all you've got," she said.
She said she believes Australian Wildlife Conservancy, (a non-governmental organisation with projects all over Australia) has about 1000 bridled nailtails.
"My concerns are that those 1000 remaining were all bred from 12 founders so the genetic diversity is not there," she said.
Ms Janssen estimates the total number of bridled nailtails either in captivity or in the wild, across Queensland and NSW, at 1430.
This number includes the populations at AWC and Safe Haven.
But Ms Janssen said, with no monetary support from DES, Safe Haven was struggling to maintain the resources to keep the wallabies.
"I rely on our little donation tins," (which can be found at shops around the region), Ms Janssen said.
"If I'm really lucky each month, that buys the animal food.
"We are doing everything we can to be viable, we've got solar going in (but) our biggest donor monthly is an American man and he gives us $65.
"The species is not known about, it's not recognised within the public so it's really hard to get $5 for a bridled nailtail wallaby because nobody knows what they are.
Ms Janssen asked people to please spread the word about the wallaby and to consider making a donation to Safe Haven to help them continue to fight for the pint-sized macropod.
Want to help?
Adopt a wallaby for $30 per month at Safe Haven.
Donations can be made via PayPal or via Safe Haven's website: aace.org.au
Direct deposit to Safe Haven's bank account via Facebook or text/phone Tina for bank details on 0408 613 914
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