Kangaroos abound but fears abound for smaller cousins, warns WWF

A black-flanked rock wallaby. Australia's big kangaroos are thriving, but wildlife campaigners fear for their smaller cousins
A black-flanked rock wallaby. Australia's big kangaroos are thriving, but wildlife campaigners fear for their smaller cousins

Australia's big kangaroos are thriving, but wildlife campaigners hold fears for their smaller cousins, including the little-known bettong and the rock wallaby, WWF Australia has warned.

"The is probably the most recognisable Australian animal of all," WWF-Australia spokesperson Darren Grover told AFP ahead of national threatened species day on Sunday.

"But part of that larger kangaroo and wallaby family are all these almost unknown little animals; the bettongs and potoroos and rock wallabies that people haven't necessarily heard of.

"Many of them are really struggling."

Grover said the overwhelming risk to these smaller marsupials were and introduced foxes, along with a loss of shelter due to habitat loss and changed fire practices.

He said exact numbers of the smaller species were difficult to calculate, but some were only surviving on offshore islands while in other cases mainland populations were under threat.

The northern bettong, which was once found along the northeastern coast, is now only found in four small, isolated populations in tropical north Queensland, WWF said.

And the black-flanked rock-wallaby is only seen in a few isolated groups in remote areas as their numbers have been threatened by foxes and feral cats.

Grover said the kangaroo itself was not at risk, with some of the largest probably at historically high numbers due to land clearing providing grass and dams a good water supply.

A northern bettong.  Australia's big kangaroos are thriving, but wildlife campaigners hold fears for their smaller cousins
A northern bettong. Australia's big kangaroos are thriving, but wildlife campaigners hold fears for their smaller cousins

But he said the fear was that the 'roo's little cousins would disappear before many people even realised they existed.

"These are animals that not a lot of people have ever heard of but they are just as an important part of Australia's biodiversity as those larger kangaroos and wallabies," he said.

Australia's National Threatened Species Day is held each September 7 to commemorate the date the last known thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, died in captivity in Hobart Zoo in 1936.


Explore further

Feral cats behind extinction of unique Aussie mammals: study

© 2014 AFP

Citation: Kangaroos abound but fears abound for smaller cousins, warns WWF (2014, September 6) retrieved 18 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-09-kangaroos-abound-smaller-cousins-wwf.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Sep 07, 2014
Marsupials are naturally tame, but Australian ecologists continue to spread the lie that they are dangerous and do better in the wild.

The proof is overwhelming that they do very well in captivity, in fact they thrive with humans provided we feed them and house them properly.

Search youtube for wombat videos to convince yourself.

Also sugar gliders are now a rather common exotic pet in the USA.

People who have the patience are able to carry them around 24/7 while they go on about their business in the person's pocket or in the case of some women in their bra.

I had a colony once after I discovered that they are true insectivores. Within a year's time the pair I had turned into a family colony of 14.

Too bad for marsupials that Aussie keepers refuse to think outside the box and conservation otherwise marsupials would fast be on their way to becoming the most popular pets in the world thanks to their super cute looks and adorable dispositions the lies about koalas notwithstanding

Sep 07, 2014
The world would be a better place if it were legal to have these as pets.

NOTE: these are WILD animals, yet despite being totally wild animals they are more gentile and sweet than the vast majority of dogs and cats.

https://www.youtu...X-JpODcA

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more