Nature conservation

Threatened species

Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby - profile

Indicative distribution


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Key:
known
predicted
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Petrogale xanthopus
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Profile last updated: 07 Sep 2017

Description

The Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby is a small, richly coloured wallaby. It is the largest of the 23 described forms of the rock-wallaby genus Petrogale. Adult males and females weigh an average 8 and 6 kg respectively, with occasional males weighing over 11 kg. The Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby is one of the most brightly coloured of all Australian mammals and is readily identified by its colouring and patterning. It has a thick, grey-coloured coat with a dark mid-dorsal stripe and white cheek, flank and hip stripes. Its chest and belly are light-coloured and its limbs and ears are a rich golden colour. The tail is long, cylindrical, blunt ended, and characteristically banded dark brown and golden-brown.

Distribution

Formerly more widespread through the ranges of South Australia, western NSW and into south-western Queensland. Thought to have occurred over the entire north-western NSW fold belt from Broken Hill to Tibooburra, including on the Barrier, Scopes, Bynguano and southern Grey Ranges. Now only known from Mutawintji National Park and Mutawintji Nature Reserve, where less than 100 animals were recently counted (July 2003) during annual surveys.

Habitat and ecology

  • The Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby inhabits semi-arid country, occurring on rock outcrops in association with Mulga scrub. The broken country favoured by rock-wallabies provides them with permanent waterholes and shelter sites from summer heat and predators. Furthermore, the agility of the rock-wallabies in this type of country enables them to escape predators more readily when pursued. The habitat also provides a variety of food sources.
  • The cliffs, rocky slopes and rockfalls on and adjacent to the Gap and Coturaundee Ranges are significant habitat for the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby. It is not yet known the extent to which they browse and graze away from the range or on the escarpment. However, during distributional surveys conducted in 2000 and 2001, Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies were never observed on the flat plains below.
  • The Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby eats a range of herbaceous forbs (e.g. Cyanoglossum), young grasses (e.g. Themeda) and browse (leaves of trees and woody shrubs, e.g. Acacia and Callitris), with the former being dominant in better conditions and the latter becoming more important in dry seasons. In many areas there is an absolute shortage of browse during droughts, due predominantly to over-browsing by exotic herbivores. During winter this species emerges during the day to bask in the sun, feed and groom. In summer they feed before sunrise and after sunset on the slopes and elevated terraces close to the caves in which they shelter.
  • Droughts are frequent and the rainfall often occurs as localised heavy thunderstorms. Topography is generally low, but rising steeply from the landscape are isolated rocky outcrops, cliffs and ridges of harder rocks. It is on these raised ‘islands’ that the rock-wallabies are found.
  • The species lives in colonies of up to one hundred individuals. Within each colony, each rockpile is occupied by a small group comprising several females with a larger male and a number of smaller males. Individual animals occupy home ranges of 150 to 200 hectares centred on the rocky areas and overlapping with other members of the colony.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Threats

Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Broken Hill ComplexMootwingee Downs Known None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateSA Known None