Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society

Demography of a yellow-footed rock-wallaby Petrogale xanthopus colony in the threatened New South Wales sub-population.

A. Sharp, M. Norton and A. Marks

Australian Mammology 28(2) 215 - 227
Published: 2006


The remnant New South Wales (NSW) yellow-footed rock-wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus) population underwent a substantial decline between 1985 and 1992 and remained at dangerously low levels until 1995. To determine the processes underlying this decline, a population study was conducted at one colony, between winter 1995 and winter 1998. The colony was observed to remain relatively constant in size, consisting of between 12 or 13 individuals throughout the study. Reproductive rates were found to be relatively high. Both reproduction and pouch young survival were comparable with those reported for other P. xanthopus colonies, while adult survival rates were higher than those noted in other studies. Because population size remained constant during the study and adult survivorship was consistently high, this suggested that juvenile recruitment into the colony was low. Such low levels of recruitment may have had a substantive role in the slow decline of the entire NSW P. xanthopus population. The results of this study suggest that any management actions undertaken in the NSW P. xanthopus population should focus on increasing juvenile survival rates. Further research is required to determine whether juvenile survival is constrained by predation or competition with other herbivores.

© Australian Mammal Society 2006

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