Image: © Aussie Ark

Private Plane Carries Wallaby to First Date


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


May 10, 2023 8:52 pm


Aussie Ark, New South Wales, Australia

Dale the brush-tailed rock wallaby has made the move from the Aussie Ark Sanctuary to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra as part of breeding efforts for this threatened species. To make the move Dale hopped aboard a private plane flown by legendary Australian aviator Michael Smith!

His move to Canberra comes as part of efforts to bolster genetic diversity in the captive population of these wallabies. Dale is a three year old wallaby and it is hoped he will find a girlfriend at Tidbinbilla.

Dale took the skies well in a comfortable travel crate departing from Scone airport.

Mr Smith donates his pilot skills to transport endangered wildlife for sanctuaries across Australia. For his efforts he was awarded Australian Geographic’s ‘Adventurer of the Year’ in 2016.

“I’m a pilot but I volunteer my time to help move endangered animals around the country to help with their breeding program,” Mr Smith said. “I’m really proud to do it. I love this program and to move these endangered animals from area to area - so their gene pool gets shared around and we avoid the problems of the Royal family - I think is great!”

Upper Hunter Valley Shire Council Senior Creative Events, Attractions & Tourism Coordinator Bek Durietz also attended the fly-out.

"We're very excited to facilitate the transfer," Ms Durietz said. "And we've never had a passenger as special as Dale!"

Aussie Ark Operations Manager Dean Reid was all smiles as he waved goodbye. He said providing ‘sister organisations’ with individuals such as Dale is vital in ensuring the long-term survival of the species.


“Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is a little bit like Aussie Ark and they are part of the Brush-tailed Rock wallaby breeding program,” Mr Reid said. “Both Dale and the female have very important genetics. So Dale’s on his way to meet his new girlfriend…and make more Brush-tailed Rock wallaby babies! It’s very exciting for Aussie Ark.” 

The last wild southern brush-tailed rock wallaby was recorded in the ACT during 1959 and at present they can only be found in the sanctuary at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. The species is the mammal emblem of the ACT.

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Wallabies are the smaller cousin of the kangaroo but they have big personalities. Meet them in our fact file.

Our Favourite Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby Fact!

Brush-tailed rock wallabies are found in rocky outcrops along the east coast of Australia. Here they will seek shelter in rock caves which they defend against entry by other individuals.

Image: © Aussie Ark

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