Wallabies are pests and it is irresponsible to have them as pets, the Waikato Regional Council says.
The council is concerned about a report of a dama wallaby being kept at a Hamilton property.
“This report is still being investigated, but it is simply irresponsible to keep pest animals as pets,” biosecurity spokesman Brett Bailey said.
“These animals are hard to contain and the damage they cause is costly, both environmentally and financially.”
He said wallabies were like possums they destroyed native bush by feeding on seedlings, ferns and grasses, which ultimately meant native birds and animals lost out on food and shelter.
In large numbers, they could also cause problems for forestry and farming.
Under the Biosecurity Act, possession of any live wallaby without an exemption was an offence.
Generally, exemptions would be considered only for zoos or wildlife parks that met certain criteria.
Mr Bailey said the council would under no circumstances grant an exemption for people wanting to keep wallabies as pets.
“Furthermore, if people are caught knowingly flouting these rules, they could face hefty fines or imprisonment.” NZN