Forest & Bird says the Government urgently needs to fund wallaby control before the pest reaches plague proportions.

Twenty to 30 wallabies are being seen a night around the Rotorua lakes and they are edging closer to Te Urewera and the Kaimai Ranges where they could be "disastrous", according to the conservation organisation.

The pests have the potential to be the "possum problem of the 21st century" if nothing is done to stop the spread, according to Department of Conservation Eastern South Island director Andy Roberts.

The department estimates the small marsupials could occupy up to a third of New

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NZ's wallaby problem