Animal Spotlight

Proserpine Rock Wallaby
(Petrogale persephone)
By Dan Schaper
Whitsunday District Office
Qld Parks & Wildlife Service

Photo supplied by QPWS.

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For more photos of the Proserpine Rock Wallaby click here

The Proserpine Rock Wallaby is an endangered species only known to exist in the Whitsunday Shire and Glouster Island.
It lives in rocky outcrops and cliffs within a preferred microphyll/motophyll semi-deciduous dry vine forest . Proserpine rock wallabies are distinguished by black feet and paws, rufous brown patch on the base of tail,light marking around the edge of ears, and sometimes with a white tip on the end of it’s tail.
Males can reach a weight of up to 9kg while the females are slightly smaller reaching 6kg.

Although they are large for a rock wallaby compared to most other kangaroos they are small, having a standing height of approximately 60cm.
Scientists discovered the Proserpine rock-wallaby in 1976 and finally recognised it as a distinct species in 1982.
In 1989 the Australian Nature Conservation Agency supported a study of the wallaby’s distribution followed by a recovery program to improve the endangered status of the Proserpine rock-wallaby species.

Due to the Proserpine rock-wallaby’s limited geographic range and increasing development pressure in the Whitsunday’s much of its habitat is under threat from clearing.
Additionally road kills occur where habitat is intersected or adjoined by roads.
Cats and dogs can also spread disease and predate on the Proserpine rock-wallabies.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are undertaking various actions to get the wallaby off the endangered list. These include:

       Habitat mapping and population monitoring
       Wildlife Reflectors
       Visual observations
       Scat collection
       Remote video monitoring
       Captive Breeding
       Establishing new wild populations

Some of the Proserpine rock-wallabies on Hayman Island have radio collars attached around their necks. This enables researchers to track down individual wallabies, gather information on movement patterns and find where they are sheltering..
Scats (droppings) are also collected to obtain dietary information.
Being the first introduction information gathered will aid researchers in establishing future populations in other areas.
A James Cook University student is currently undertaking a masters project identifying specific habitat requirements of the Proserpine rock-wallaby.
This information will be used to identify future mainland introduction sites.

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