Despite being 10,000 miles away from their natural habitat in Australia, the marsupial species is positively thriving in its unusual, new abode – a remote private island in Dublin!
Amongst the wild deer, cattle and rare birds roaming about the rugged landscape of Lambay Island (Dublin), there lurks a more exotic bunch of furry island dweller –a colony of wallabies! That’s right – just minutes away from the coast of the Irish capital, a host of miniature marsupials can be found springing through the lush green landscape of one of the country’s most exclusive private island addresses…
Located just 4 kilometers away from Dublin, Lambay Island is home to a farm, a 16th century castle and the infamous collection of wild wallabies. The Australian invasion started as far back as the 1950s, when Cecil Baring, the original owner of the island, embarked on an unusual experiment and attempted to establish his own zoo on the island.
According to Baring’s granddaughter, a number of unusual animals were introduced to Lambay throughout the 1950s, including the likes of snakes, tortoises, lizards and a colony of wallabies. Whilst the majority of the animals – perhaps unsurprisingly – didn’t fare too well in the cooler climes of the Dublin coast, many of the miniature marsupials can still be found bouncing through the undergrowth to this day.
Indeed, despite being some 10,000 miles away from their natural habitat in Australia, the furry fiends have thrived in their new home. As Peter Wilson, the former director of Dublin Zoo explains: “It’s a wonderful sanctuary for them. There are lots of thick vegetation for cover when the weather’s cold and lots of things for them to eat. It’s an absolutely perfect place for them.”
So perfect, in fact, that when nearby Dublin Zoo found itself unable to cope with an unexpected wallaby population boom in the 1980s, the zookeepers chose not to bring their excess animals to the rest of the Republic’s zoos and wildlife parks, but instead to Lambay Island – saving them from euthanasia and simultaneously boosting the long term survival chances of the original colony by expanding their gene pool.
These days, it is estimated that between thirty to fifty wallabies can be found on the island. Whilst it’s said to be tricky to track them due to their propensity for hiding away amongst the rugged terrain, it is possible to experience the world’s most northern wallaby colony for yourselfas part of a two-hour tourwhich incorporates a unique and often stunning exploration of the island’s rich bird and wildlife
Lambay Island is the largest privately held island in Ireland’s east-coast region. Home to a small farm, a 16th century castle and its own port, the island is thought to have been in the private possession of its current owners – the Baring family – since 1904. As reported by Private Island News in April 2014, the island is currently touted for development. Read more: Lambay Island Set For Controversial Luxury Development (30.04.2014)