The Parma wallaby is a small animal, with a length between 45-55cm, not including the length of the tail, which is about the same length again. It weighs around 5kg and has a thick, greyish-brown fur on the back and shoulders with a dark stripe along the spine ending mid-back. It has a white stripe on the cheek and upper lip and a white belly.
When hopping, it remains close to the ground in an almost horizontal position with the forearms tucked tightly against the body, and the tail curved upwards in a shallow U-shape. The male of the species is larger and more robust than the female.
Parma wallabies occupy rainforests and sclerophyll forests with a dense understorey and grassy areas. Their preferred habitat is moist eucalypt forest with thick, shrubby understorey, often with nearby grassy areas, rainforest margins and occasionally drier eucalypt forest.
It once occurred from North-eastern NSW to the southeast in large numbers. In recent decades their population has crashed and is now confined to scattered and reduced populations along the coast and central and northern ranges in NSW and QLD. The Parma Wallaby has a natural range that includes the NSW Barrington Tops. They were introduced to Kawau Island, New Zealand in 1965.
Diet and Behaviour
Parma wallabies are herbivores, solitary and maintly active at night when they feed on grasses and herbs in more open, eucalypt forest and the edges of nearby grassy areas. During the day they shelter in dense cover. They travel along well-worn runways to graze in their favorite grassy areas.
The breeding season of the Parma wallaby occurs between February and June. After a pregnancy of around 35 days, the newborn attaches firmly to one of four teats in the mother’s pouch, which it leaves at about thirty weeks, still suckling until approximately 10 months old.
- Habitat Loss and fragmentation
- Predation by feral cats, foxes and wild dogs.
- Removal of the understorey and shrub layer by grazing stock.
- Frequent burning of understory, which reduces the shrub layer
- Vehicle strikes.