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Wildlife culling on Maria Island: 255 wallabies, 518 pademelons euthanised during week-long closure

Picture of Pulse Tasmania
A Wallaby. Image / Stock

Over 750 animals have been killed during essential annual maintenance work on Maria Island, the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has confirmed.

The work was carried out while the island was closed to visitors over a week-long period between June 23 and July 5.


It included upgrades to the former Maria Island Penitentiary, toilet block maintenance and site preparation for a new wastewater treatment plant.

A four-night wildlife management program targeting increasing wildlife populations of Bennetts wallabies and Tasmanian pademelons was also undertaken during the closure.

Maria Island from Orford on Tasmania’s East Coast. Image / Pulse

“PWS has a legal responsibility to euthanise sick and distressed animals to ensure Maria Island is managed in a way that maintains healthy wildlife populations and conserve the island’s biodiversity,” a spokesperson said.

“Overcrowded wildlife, coupled with a lack of food resources contributes to the poor health and welfare of some species, as well as impacting on the National Park’s values, in particular to the native vegetation.”

A Pademelon. Image / Stock

A total of 255 Bennetts wallabies and 518 Tasmanian pademelons were culled as part of the program.

Some animal meat was kept to support the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, while the rest was buried on the island.


Animal densities on Maria Island are much higher than mainland Tasmania, according to PWS.

Bennett Wallaby numbers are 249 per square kilometre and pademelons are 443 per square kilometre, compared to 29.7 and 46.4 respectively on mainland Tasmania.

The park has since reopened to the public.

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