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The brush-tailed rock wallaby, aka small-eared rock wallaby, is one of several rock wallaby species in the genus Petrogale, and the family Macropodidae. It's only a small animal - body length 55 cm, tail length 60 cm, weight up to 8 kg, but is also very attractive with beautiful markings and rich, reddish-brown fur. It's also quite a thick-set animal, and despite it's size and obvious agility, looks very sturdy. I don't think the wallaby in this spotting was aware of my presence. I stayed quiet and perfectly still until he/she hopped off. They are naturally shy and tend to keep a healthy distance from people. That's a wise move!
Inhabits rocky slopes, cliffs and gorges along the Great Dividing Range, from about 100 km north-west of Brisbane to northern Victoria, in vegetation ranging from rainforest to dry sclerophyll forests. This spotting was in Crows Nest National Park, in dense native bushland. Very rocky terrain which this species prefers (last photo). Crows Nest is probably the northern extent of its range.
The IUCN Red List of Vulnerable Species lists Petrogale penicillata as vulnerable (VU). The species is severely threatened by habitat loss, predation by foxes and feral cats, and competition from goats, sheep and rabbits. Populations have declined seriously in the south and west of its range, but it remains locally common in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. It's not known if the small groups of rock wallabies living among the cliffs and gorges of Crows Nest Creek are one continuous population or several small, distinct and unrelated ones, but it is known they are constrained by their attachment to rocky refuges. Using trapping, tracking and genetic studies, University of Queensland researchers are hoping to determine relatedness within Crows Nest's rock wallaby populations and find out what makes good or bad rock wallaby habitat. Research and ongoing monitoring will aid management of brush-tailed rock wallaby populations patchily distributed in isolated cliffs and rocky outcrops from southeast Queensland to Victoria.
Lat: -27.26, Long: 152.11
Spotted on Jul 26, 2018
Submitted on Jul 27, 2018
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