|Distribution of the yellow-footed rock-wallaby|
The yellow-footed rock-wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus), formerly known as the ring-tailed wallaby, is a member of the macropod family (the marsupial family that includes the kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, and wallaroos).
The yellow-footed rock-wallaby is grey to fawn-grey above and light-coloured below with a black mid-dorsal stripe from the crown of the head to the centre of the back. There is a distinct white cheek stripe, with ears ranging in colour from orange to grey-brown. The forearms and hind legs are bright yellow to rich orange to a light orange-brown.The tail is orange-brown irregularly ringed with dark brown and golden-brown, with the colour of the tip variable from dark brown to white. The head and body length is 480–650 mm (usually 600 mm), with tail length 570–700 mm (usually 690 mm), and weight 6–11 kg.
Distribution and habitat
This species of rock-wallaby is found in western New South Wales, eastern South Australia and isolated portions of Queensland. It is not typically found near human habitation, instead preferring rough terrain and rock outcroppings.
There are two recognised subspecies.
P. x. xanthopus
P. x. xanthopus is listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 by the Australian government. Colonies persist in South Australia, within the Gawler Ranges, the Flinders Ranges and the Olary Ranges. The population is SA is estimated at around 2000 to 6 500 animals, with great uncertainty and likely large fluctuations. Due to conservation efforts by pastoralists in the Olary Ranges, populations there have increased in recent years.
In NSW, colonies have been found at three sites in the Gap Range and seven sites in the Coturaundee Range, with a population of between 170 and 215 animals. Threats include competition from introduced herbivores (in particular feral goats and rabbits), predation by foxes and feral cats, isolation of populations, and habitat destruction through mineral exploration.
P. x. celeris
P. x. celeris is listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 by the Australian government. It has a restricted distribution in the rocky ranges of central-western Queensland. Threats include fox predation, competition with domestic and wild introduced species (particularly goats and cattle), climate change, reduced access to water sources, habitat loss and fragmentation, and increase in bushfires.
The yellow-footed rock-wallaby was originally known and described from specimens from South Australia. The species was subsequently discovered in New South Wales (and Queensland) where it was first recorded in 1964 in the Coturaundee Ranges, now part of Mutawintji National Park. The two small mountain ranges in the far west of the state are still the only known places where the species survives in New South Wales.
In 1979, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife purchased 100 square kilometres of this land, which then became Coturaundee Nature Reserve, for the conservation and protection of the yellow-footed rock-wallaby. Further funds were allocated to fox and goat eradication. Annual surveys of the area, which is now part of Mutawintji National Park, indicate that the population is now recovering, seemingly having grown progressively since 1995, with at least one large fluctuation due to rainfall changes noted. The recovery strategy that saved the yellow-footed rock-wallaby initially served as a model to preserve other rock-wallabies including the brush-tailed rock-wallaby from extinction.
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- "Approved Conservation Advice for Petrogale xanthopus xanthopus (Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby (SA and NSW))" (PDF). Department of the Environment and Energy. Australian Government. 26 March 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- Threatened Species Scientific Committee (5 May 2016). "Conservation Advice Petrogale xanthopus celeris yellow-footed rock-wallaby (central-western Queensland)" (PDF). Department of the Environment and Energy. Australian Government. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- Threatened Species Unit (September 1999). "Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby" (PDF). Office of Environment and Heritage. NSW Government. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- "Petrogale xanthopus xanthopus — Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby (SA and NSW)". Species Profile and Threats Database. Department of the Environment, Canberra. 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
- "Petrogale xanthopus xanthopus (yellow-footed rock-wallaby (South Australia, New South Wales))". Department of Environment. Australian Government. 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
- http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-05-29/sach-rock-wallaby-reemerge-sa-arid-lands/8526698 ABC Rural, 29 May 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- Maxwell, S.; Burbidge, A.A.; Morris, K. (1996). "Recovery Outline Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby (SA+NSW)". The 1996 Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN Species Survival Commission.
- Yellow-footed rock-wallaby (Department of Environment and Resource Management) QLD, Australia, ...Within this range the rock-wallabies live in a number of colonies in Idalia, Welford and Hell Hole Gorge National Parks, and also on private land...
- Ford, Fred (1 October 2014). John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Mammals of Australia. Canberra: National Library of Australia. p. 192. ISBN 9780642278616.
- "from 5000 BC to present day at Mutawintji National Park". Teaching Heritage. NSW Department of Education and Training. 1999. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
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