It’s Bond . . .Wallaby Bond.

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) has taken a leaf from fiction and created 10 spy wallabies fitted with satellite GPS collars to fight against Bennett’s wallaby, an invasive introduced pest.

During the next year the seeker or spy wallabies will be monitored by a hunting team to see if they lead them to other wallabies. The other wallabies would be shot, leaving the seeker wallabies to continue to seek out more wallabies until no more were found.

ORC national programmes project delivery specialist Gavin Udy said ORC, in collaboration with Environment Canterbury and the Tipu Ma ¯toro National Wallaby Eradication Programme, hoped the two-year research programme testing the usefulness of seeker wallabies would provide a new tool in the battle against the fast-breeding pest.

‘‘Tipu Matoro’s research programme is all about improving existing wallaby detection, surveillance, and control methods, and finding new ones to address the pest wallaby problem,’’ Mr Udy said.

‘‘Any wallabies that go undetected allow small breeding populations to form and grow and become established over time. This is why it is critical that we develop new cost-effective tools to find wallabies in these environments.’’

ORC was investing $110,000 over two years in the field work component of the research to protect Otago from the damage wallabies did to native bush, farms, crops, commercial forestry and biodiversity, Mr Udy said.