The Yellow-footed rock-wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus) is a vulnerable species found on rocky ... / ©: Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon

Rock-wallabies

Between a rock and a hard place

These beautiful marsupial acrobats bound across Australia’s rocky outcrops and rugged cliffs. However, many of our 16 species of rock-wallaby are threatened and have disappeared from much of their original range.

Click here for more information on the IUCN levels of threatened species.

Rock-wallabies are an internationally-recognised group for the study of species development and chromosome evolution in kangaroos and wallabies.


Threats to rock-wallabies

Life has long been challenging for rock-wallabies. Historically, hunting for the fur trade (now outlawed) caused a sharp decline in the numbers of many species of rock-wallaby.

The clearing of native vegetation, weed invasion and changed fire patterns have deprived subsequent wallaby generations of available habitat, hungry foxes and cats have taken their toll, and wallabies now compete with livestock, feral goats and rabbits for food. This competition forces them beyond their natural ranges.

In New South Wales, where only two colonies of yellow-footed rock-wallabies remain – 10 kilometres distant from one another – the species faces a serious threat of extinction.


What is WWF doing for rock-wallabies?

Rock-wallabies aren’t found anywhere else on Earth so, as Australians, we’re the guardians of this unique group of marsupials.

Sixteen species and eight subspecies of rock-wallaby live on our continent. Rock-wallabies comprise our largest group of macropods (kangaroos, wallabies and their relatives), representing 22% of remaining species.


Rock-wallabies facts

  • Common name

    Rock-wallaby

  • Scientific name

    Genus: Petrogale

  • Weight

    Max 10kg

  • Geographic location

    Australia - Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory

  • Length

    Max head to tail: 1.2 m

  • Status

    IUCN: as least concern through to endangered

  • Did you know?

    Sixteen species and eight subspecies of rock-wallaby live in Australia.

Our past threatened species work

Gouldian finch in the Kimberley, Western Australia. / ©: Mike Fidler
Working with the community to stop plants and animals from disappearing is what the Threatened Species Network (TSN) was all about. TSN was a partnership between WWF-Australia and the Australian Government.

Go to our TSN pages (archived)