|Scientific Name:||Petrogale penicillata (Gray, 1827)|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable A2bce+3bce+4bce ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A.|
|Contributor(s):||Menkhorst, P., Lunney, D., Bluff, L., Eldridge, M. & Soderquist, T.|
The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby has experienced a very substantial historical decline, and decline is continuing at many or most subpopulations. The rate of decline is not well resolved, but suspected to be >30% over a 21 year (=three generation) period. Hence it qualifies for listing as Vulnerable.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby has a disjunct range in south-eastern Australia, mostly associated with the Great Dividing Range, from the Grampians in western Victoria to south-eastern Queensland (Yarramam, north of Toowoomba). The isolated Grampians subpopulation was extirpated in about 1999 (Corrigan et al. 2012), but is the subject of a current reintroduction program using animals from East Gippsland and hybrids between the two ESUs (Corrigan et al. 2012; Malam et al. 2012; P. Menkhorst pers. comm. 2014).
Native:Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria)
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
In 2008, the population size was estimated to be between 15 000 and 30 000 individuals (DECC 2008), with most (80%) in north-eastern New South Wales, and far smaller proportions in central and south-eastern New South Wales (2%), south-eastern Queensland (17%) and Victoria (<1%) (DECC 2008).
|Current Population Trend:||Decreasing|
|Habitat and Ecology:|
The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby is closely associated with rugged rocky areas, including rock faces and outcrops with boulders, ledges and caves (Short 1992; Menkhorst and Hynes 2011); however this association may be an artefact reflecting retreat from a far broader habitat distribution since European settlement (Menkhorst and Hynes 2011). The rocky sites now occupied may occur in a range of vegetation types including rainforests, eucalypt forests and woodlands (Eldridge and Close 2008). At night, Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies move from their daytime shelter sites to a foraging area, typically using a habitual route. Home range size varies from 6-30 hectares (Short 1992), although more recent radio-tracking data demonstrate that movements of c. 500 m distance per night are relatively common, suggesting home range sizes may be larger than previously published values (T. Soderquist pers. comm. 2014). Foraging areas may include forests, woodlands and pastures. The Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby has a mixed diet: grass is the main item, but flowers, forbs, leaves, fruit, bark and fungi are also eaten (Short 1989; Menkhorst and Hynes 2011).
|Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:||Yes|
|Generation Length (years):||7|
|Movement patterns:||Not a Migrant|
|Use and Trade:||This species was formerly hunted intensively for pelts and because it was perceived as a pest (Short and Milkovits 1990; Menkhorst 1995; Lunney et al. 1997). This hunting pressure may have been a primary factor in the historical decline (Taggart et al. 2008) and thence to the species’ vulnerability to other threats. At least 500 000 individuals were killed between 1894 and 1914, and almost 100,000 skins were marketed by a single company in one year (1908) (Lunney et al. 1997). This activity no longer occurs.|
There is a lack of data about the threats to the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby (Eldridge and Close 2008). Predation by introduced foxes and competition with introduced goats are likely to be the greatest threats. Foxes prey on young rock wallabies and probably limit dispersal as well as recruitment. Introduced dogs and cats are also probably threats, but the habitat in which this species lives is not well suited to these predators. Habitat fragmentation and land clearance between colonies is also thought to limit dispersal and reduce numbers of individuals by exposing rock wallabies to higher rates of predation. As colony isolation increases so does the risk of inbreeding (Hazlitt et al. 2006a,b).
Hunting was perhaps the main historical factor in reducing the population and range of this species. A sustained commercially-driven period of hunting led to the decline of many populations and local extinctions, and may have been the primary cause of the initial decline, at least in central and southern New South Wales. Bounties were paid on over half a million rock-wallabies between 1894 and 1914 (Short and Milkovits 1990) and there was an extensive fur trade from pre-1890 to 1927 (Lunney et al. 1997). The species was also hunted extensively in the Grampians area of Victoria. The magnitude of hunting is apparent when one considers that the current population of the species is estimated at between 15,000 and 30,000 individuals, and in 1908 alone 92,590 skins were marketed by a single company (Lunney et al. 1997).
A recovery plan (Menkhorst and Hynes 2011) includes the objectives:
Most of these activities are being undertaken (and have been previously, through other management planning), with some local-scale success. However, captive populations have not necessarily been maintained as separate ESUs.
|Citation:||Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Petrogale penicillata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T16746A21955754.Downloaded on 25 February 2018.|
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