28 Nov REWILDING ROCK WALLABIES
Rewilding the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby
There are 15 species of rock wallaby in Australia. Rock wallabies differ from other macropods by their unique and very well-adapted bodies, long tail, and feet. Their bodies are stout and muscular which allows agility and speed. Their feet are shorter with reduced claws, their feet pads are cushioned and thick with increased grip on the soles of their feet. This allows them to be agile and protected on the rocks and cliff ledges that they inhabit. Their long tail helps with balance when bounding around on steep cliff faces. They are medium-sized wallabies with distinctive white, cheek stripe and a black stripe from the eyes to the back of the head. Their dark bodies allow them to camouflage well in amongst the shadows and rock faces. Spending the days resting within the rocks they are nocturnal and graze on close-by grasses and shrubs, bark, and fruit.
Brush-tailed rock-wallabies were once found in healthy numbers and common throughout their range but now are found in only fragmented populations following the Great Dividing Range from Queensland to Western Victoria. They are one of the worst affected rock wallabies, almost completely disappearing from their original range and are now classified as threatened and are at imminent risk of extinction.
Unfortunately for the Brush-tailed rock wallaby there are many compounding threats that have caused their dire situation and future. Habitat destruction, weed invasion along with feral predators such as the feral fox and cat means they stand little chance of surviving. Competition with other introduced herbivores means the wallabies go outside their natural feeding grounds in search for suitable food and are easy prey to these introduced predators. These threats are common for many of Australian native species and the reason why Australia has the worst record for mammal extinction.
In addition to threats from feral predators, the 2019 – 2020 Australian bushfires ripped through their habitat and sealed the fate of isolated small populations. The fire was like an inferno and not only wiped out animals within its path but also all of their food and habitat. This meant that any wallabies that were lucky enough to survive the fire then faced dehydration and starvation.
Aussie Ark – The Solution
Aussie Ark has created a safe-haven and wildlife protection for the Brush-tailed rock wallaby. We have specialised breeding enclosures within our Species Recovery Unit (SRU) where we have purpose-built rocky outcrops that mimic those that they inhabit in the wild. The animals within the SRU are key genetic breeding groups to help form a vital insurance population for the species. These animals will breed and their young will then build wild behaviours in Aussie Ark’s smaller ‘Species Recovery Unit’ sanctuaries and then be released to larger sanctuaries where they can live and breed. Aussie Ark’s sanctuaries provide habitat and species protection and regeneration which creates holistic environmental conservation.
Brush-tailed rock wallabies do not stand a chance of surviving with their current threats. Aussie Ark’s sanctuaries provide habitat where a very special, unique species can thrive as they once did in a pre-European state, without foxes and cats and threats of habitat destruction or weed invasion.
How you can help
You can help us, help them by donating. Your donation will go directly to saving the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby by providing habitat protection, veterinary care, monitoring equipment and food.
Learning about Australia’s unique and special species is another way you can help. Understand their threats and help us to be their voices and heroes whilst we fight to secure a long-term future for Brush-tailed rock wallabies and other species. Extinction is not an option!