Brush-Tailed Rock Wallabies used to be abundant and widespread across the rocky country of south-eastern Australia from southern Queensland to Victoria. From 1900 until about 1920, hundreds of thousands were shot for their fur and as agricultural pests. Today only about 15,000 to 30,000 are thought to remain, the majority of which can be found in north-eastern New South Wales.
While hunting accounted for the original drop in Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby numbers, these days there are a number of threats that continue to drive the decline of this species. Attacks by feral animals such as foxes and competition for food resources from goats and other introduced species are now their greatest threats.
A Captive Management Plan has been developed to help the recovery of this species. The role of Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos and other zoos participating in this program, is to provide a genetically healthy population of animals bred in human care that are suitable for release to the wild, as part of reintroduction program managed by the New South Wales Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby Recovery Team.
Facilities at both our Zoos were upgraded in 2007 for use in the breeding plan, using funds from the Taronga Foundation. Breeding targets are being developed to coincide with the creation of a release plan and the preparation of final release sites by the recovery team.
Taronga Zoo currently exhibits a group of Brush-Tailed Rock Wallabies, while the Rock Wallabies at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are held in an off-display breeding facility.