The Bristle-tailed Rock Wallaby: A Survival Story

The brush-tailed rock wallaby is a unique species of kangaroo that inhabits southeastern Australia. It prefers rocky hills with particularly steep slopes, whether it is surrounded by rain forests or dry hard-leaved Mediterranean-type forests. The main thing is that there is plenty of plant food, and more secluded corners for daytime rest.

The tail of the Quested rock wallaby is interesting – long and powerful, it is covered with stiff hairs sticking out in different directions. Its size is about half of its body length, up to 70 cm. The animal weighs about 8 kg.

This species has a couple of other names: brush-tailed rock wallaby and brush-tailed rock wallaby. It has thick grayish-brown fur on its back and sides that sometimes turns red or even purple. Its abdomen is light and flanked by two white stripes. The elongated muzzle and large, broad ears are decorated with white lines. Three black stripes run across the eyes and down the middle of the head. His paws are red and their tips are black. In general, nature has painted him from the bottom of his heart!

But it is not only its appearance that makes this species unique. The bristle-tailed rock wallaby has strong, tenacious paws that are ideally suited for moving over rocky ridges. This species of kangaroo prefers places with highly rugged terrain, because it is easy to leave the predator with a nose, having made a couple or three four-meter jumps on rocky ledges.

But despite all its adaptations to life on the rocks, the keystone wallaby was threatened with extinction at the beginning of the last century. Hunting for its beautiful fur was so intense that in 1908 alone in Sydney about 92 thousand (!) valuable pelts of the poor animal were sold. And the population especially decreased in the western and southern part of the range.

The scientists seized their heads and decided to remedy the situation somehow. Some wallabies were acclimatized to small islands in the Hauraki Gulf, where they got acclimatized, but began to annoy the local animals and exterminate rare plants. We had to evict them from there before anyone else had to be rescued.

Then the keystone wallaby began to be bred in captivity and released into the wild. For example, most recently, on October 31, 2012, scientists released eight young kangaroos, bred through the efforts of humans.

To make the breeding process faster, the bristle-tailed wallabies are raised by adoptive mothers. The tiny kangaroo cub, only a few days old, is transferred from its birth mother to the foster mother by gently placing a nipple in its mouth. Yellow-legged mountain wallabies and Eugenia’s kangaroos play the role of “nursers.

When the baby grows up, he is returned to his own species in the pack so that he can learn the social skills he needs in the future. And his birth mother, deprived of her cub, gives birth to another kangaroo cub 30 days later. Sad, of course, but it helped save the bristle-tailed rock wallaby from extinction.

Interestingly, the inhabitants of Hawaii can also boast their own kangaroos, as there is a small population of brush-tailed rock wallabies on Oahu. They are all descendants of one pair that once managed to escape from the local zoo.

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