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Petrogale lateralis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA DIPROTODONTIA MACROPODIDAE

Scientific Name: Petrogale lateralis
Species Authority: Gould, 1842
Common Name(s):
English Black-footed Rock Wallaby, Black-flanked Wallaby, Warru

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Burbidge, A., Woinarski, J., Reed, J., van Weenen, J., Moseby, K.E. & Morris, K.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Near Threatened because, although it has a large extent of occurrence, its distribution is very patchy, few (if any) populations are considered secure, the total population is not much greater than 10,000 mature individuals, and it is probably decreasing overall, thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable under criterion C.
History:
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Black-footed Rock Wallaby is endemic to Australia, where it occurs in rocky areas in the central, southern, and western portions of the country and includes a number of offshore islands. Many of the populations of this species are isolated from each other, and this separation has given rise to three recognized subspecies (Petrogale lateralis lateralis, P. l. hacketti, P. l. pearsoni) and two races (West Kimberley and MacDonnell Ranges). There have been a number of localized extinctions of this species over the last 100 years, but there are have also been several reintroductions, translocations, and even a couple of accidental introductions of the species as well.
Countries:
Native:
Australia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is probably over 10,000 mature individuals. Historically, the MacDonnell race of Black-footed Rock Wallaby began a steep decline in the 1930s, and this decline continues today, mainly in the smaller, isolated populations (Eldridge and Pearson 2008). Populations in 21 of 400 sites have disappeared in last 30 years (Gibson 2000), and there are fewer than 100 individuals in South Australia (10 in the north-western population and about 70 in the population further east). The MacDonnell Ranges race, however, remains widespread and common in the Northern Territory, due to a variety of factors, including: widespread, contiguous and variable habitat; an absence of rabbits and foxes, as they are found farther south; an inability of goats to persist; and 1080 baiting programs for dingoes. Likewise the West Kimberley race is described as “conspicuously abundant at several sites” because it is at the northern edge of fox distribution and does not suffer much predation (Eldridge and Pearson 2008).

The remaining subspecies of Black-footed Rock Wallaby have not fared so well or are very limited in distribution. The Black-footed Rock Wallaby in south-western Western Australia have declined massively during the 20th century, and many local populations have gone extinct (Pearson and Kinnear 1997; Eldridge and Pearson 2008). Barrow Island may hold about 100 individuals, though recent work suggests this population is much smaller (A. Burbidge pers. comm.). Both P. l. hacketti and P. l. pearsoni are common within their tiny ranges. Estimates for P. l. pearsoni include approximately 500 individuals on Thistle Island and 200 on Wedge Island (both are introduced populations).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in a variety of steep and rocky habitats. The vegetation in these areas varies widely from temperate rocky islands to pandanus lined gorges and spinifex covered hills in the central deserts (Eldridge and Pearson 2008). The diet of this species includes grass and some fruit, and it can survive without water for long periods, as its need is reduced by sheltering in caves during the day where relative humidity is higher (Langford and Pavey 2002). The species is long lived, with the average age of breeding females about 6 years (females mature at 1 year; animals live about 12 years).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The various subspecies of Black-footed Rock Wallaby face different threats. The main threat overall to this species is predation from introduced foxes, and foxes are known to have played a major role in the decline of the species historically. Competition with domestic and introduced herbivores (primarily sheep and rabbits) is a major threat as well as loss of habitat due to changes in the fire regime and introduced grasses.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: All three subspecies and both races of Black-footed Rock Wallaby are listed as threatened under Australian law. The species occurs in a number of protected areas. The separate subspecies and races are managed separately. Some of the island populations should be sampled genetically – not all have been sampled and there is evidence of inbreeding with some locations. Regular monitoring of populations should be conducted in a coordinated fashion. Predator control measures (primarily fox baiting) need to be maintained and expanded within key areas for the species, as well as monitoring of fox populations. Fire management and habitat restoration should be implemented where feasible.

A number of reintroductions of have been carried out to date and management of the relevant threatening processes described above is particularly important when establishing new populations (Davies et al. 2007). P. l. pearsoni was endemic to North Pearson Island, but in 1960 it was accidentally introduced to South and Middle Pearson, where populations are now established (Eldridge and Pearson 2008). In 1974 this subspecies was translocated to Thistle Island and in 1975 to Wedge Island (Eldridge and Pearson 2008). P. l. lateralis has been reintroduced to Avon Valley National Park (2001), Paruna Sanctuary (2001), Walyunga National Park (2002), and Cape Le Grand National Park (2003) (Davies et al. 2007). Further reintroductions/ translocations are planned and these should proceed along with the maintenance of genetic variation within captive-breeding populations.

Citation: Burbidge, A., Woinarski, J., Reed, J., van Weenen, J., Moseby, K.E. & Morris, K. 2008. Petrogale lateralis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 September 2014.
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