The resurgence of the ill-fated Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby- Grampians
In 1999, the last surviving rock-wallaby was captured and a breeding program was launched. A small colony was introduced in to the park in 2008, but high mortality and low reproduction rates have disappointed the recovery program team for the last decade.
The good news is that the colony now boasts eight wallabies, including four offspring. Some of the offspring have reached breeding age. The species have received a reprieve from extinction, thanks to dedicated rangers!
The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby was once found across the rocky gorges in south-eastern Australia, its decline is largely due to historical hunting for the fur trade, habitat clearing and predation from the red fox.
Ranger Ryan Duffy said a program to improve the rock-wallaby population had been running without much success, until about two years ago when some offspring did thrive. “The most recent example of offspring surviving came a few weeks ago when we observed a joey emerge from its mother’s pouch and hop around,” he said.
(image: YouTube Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies)
Mr Duffy said the Grampians reintroduction program was part of a bigger project that also aimed to secure populations at Mount Rothwell. He said there were many cameras in the Grampians National Park to monitor the colony at all times. He hoped the joey sighting was the first step to securing another wallaby population in Victoria. “We are unsure at this stage if the joey is male or female,” he said.
These unique and beautiful acrobats of the marsupial world leap and bound their way around rocky outcrops and cliff ledges in rugged and steep country near the east coast of Australia. Of the 15 species of rock wallaby in Australia, most have disappeared from their original range and are now considered threatened.
It’s tragic that modern Australia is so hostile to our rich heritage of native animals. Our track record is abysmal, but at least there is some light in the darkness!
Brush-tailed rock wallabies can climb tall trees with their sharp claws and strong legs. They can also climb almost vertical rocks.
Congratulations to the dedicated Rangers who have persisted with this program, and now have some success!