Rock Wallaby

These unique and beautiful 'acrobats of the marsupial world' leap and bound their way around rocky outcrops and cliff ledges in rugged and steep areas throughout Australia.

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Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus)
© Anthony Cramp http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonycramp/1541193567/

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Key Facts

  • Common Name

    Rock wallaby

  • Scientific Name

    Genus: petrogale

  • Status

    Least concern to near threatened

  • Geographic Location

    Australia

There are currently 16 species of rock wallaby.

Physical description
Rock wallabies specialise in rugged terrain and have modified feet designed to grip rock with skin friction rather than dig into soil with large claws.

Size
Length: 50-80cm
Tail length: 40-70cm
Weight: 3-9kg
 

What are the main threats?

Rock wallabies have been deprived of available habitat due to a combination of factors such as clearing of native vegetation, weed invasion and changed patterns of fire across the landscape.

They must also cope with being killed by foxes, and they compete with livestock, feral goats and rabbits for food. This competition forces them to search for food outside their natural ranges.

For example, in New South Wales there are only 2 colonies of yellow-footed rock wallabies left, about 10km apart.

This species is considered to be in serious danger of extinction in this State.

Historically, hunting for the fur trade has also caused a decline in rock wallaby numbers. Although this is no longer a current threat, it has had a big impact on the rock wallaby population.


Petrogale xanthopus Yellow-footed rock wallaby Inhabits rocky outcrops Australia / ©: Martin HARVEY / WWF-Canon
Yellow-footed rock wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus); Australia
© Martin HARVEY / WWF-Canon

What is WWF doing?

WWF is working with community groups to carry out surveys of some known rock wallaby populations and to determine and implement effective measures to help the species recover.

Community groups are being supported to get involved in habitat protection and to work on controlling predators to save the species along with continuing surveying and monitoring to understand more about rock wallabies.

Through the Threatened Species Network, WWF Australia is supporting projects that focus on managing fire regimes and monitoring populations of brush-tailed rock wallabies and controlling predators and engaging landholders.

How you can help

One of the most important aspects of recovery of threatened species and communities is the protection of their habitat.

Two thirds of Australia is privately managed rural land, and there is increasing recognition of the important role that private landholders can make to the conservation of biodiversity across Australia.

If you manage, live on or own land that is habitat for rock wallabies, contact your state Threatened Species Network coordinator to find out about how you can help.

You can also check the volunteer listing for your area to see if there's any opportunity to help the rock wallaby, or other Australian species.

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Did you know?

    • The word wallaby is from an aboriginal name given to this animal by the Eora tribe that once lived around the Sydney area.
    • Rock wallabies can make horizontal leaps of up to 4m.

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