An increase in wallaby sightings in Maniototo continues to cause concerns.

Maniototo Pest Management manager Ossie Brown said the outlook did not look good for residents, particularly farmers in the region.

"It won't improve in the near future; it's just going to get worse.

"It's going to be very serious for the farmers here if [the wallabies] aren't eradicated.

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"They're going to wreak havoc."

Brown said locating them was the biggest challenge and a "significant amount of funding" was needed.

A night vision view of a pair of wallabies on a property in Naseby. Photo / Maniototo Pest Management
A night vision view of a pair of wallabies on a property in Naseby. Photo / Maniototo Pest Management

"No-one has dealt with eradicating wallabies in low numbers.

"We need really good, up-to-date methods to find them and a lot of money."

The Otago Regional Council, which is collaborating with the pest management organisation, had undertaken a poisoning operation along the Hawkdun Range, between Falls Dam and Timber Creek, since December.

Sniffer dogs had also been introduced in wallaby control operations near Naseby and in North Otago last year.

Cameras had been installed where an "established breeding population" could be monitored until those areas could be poisoned.

Wallaby woes have ballooned in recent years.

Between 2011 and 2016, the council responded to 12 wallaby incidents. This increased to 128 between 2016 and 2018, and reports came in regularly.

Council acting director of environmental monitoring and operations Peter Winder confirmed the operation had covered the foothills of the Ida Range behind Naseby.

"It is known from the surveillance cameras that were set in this area that there was a small population of five wallabies present.

"Staff are confident that all wallabies were controlled."

Winder said the regional council was "working with stakeholders in the Central Otago area to develop a plan for wallabies in the future".

- For any wallaby sightings call 0800 474 082 or fill in a sighting form at orc.govt.nz.