T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Wallaby (Parma) Macropus parma

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Macropodidae
Genus: Macropus
Species: M. parma
Binomial name: Macropus parma
Common name: Parma wallaby.

The Parma wallaby is the smallest member of the genus Macropus thought to be extinct but in 1967 it was found that they still existed near Gosford in the wet sclerophyll forests of northern New South Wales, Australia. 
In 1965 workers on Kawau Island (near Auckland, New Zealand) attempting to control a plague of introduced tammar wallabies (a widespread and fairly common species in Australia) were astonished to discover that some of the pests were not tammar wallabies at all, but a miraculously surviving population of Parma wallabies—a species long thought extinct. The extermination effort was put on hold while individuals were captured and sent to institutions in Australia and around the world in the hope that they would breed in captivity and could eventually be reintroduced to their native habitat.

Parma wallabies weigh between >5.8 kg and are >0.5m in length. Their sparsely furred, blackish tail is about the same length. The body fur is a reddish or greyish brown above, greyer about the head, and fading to pale grey underneath.

The threat to Kawau Island's ecosystem
The Department of Conservation’s website states
“The effects of the Wallabies browsing can be seen everywhere and threaten Kawau’s significant ecological values.
There is little understorey in Kawau’s kanuka forests and few remaining patches of broadleaved forest. Heavy browsing stops anything from growing apart from tree ferns and introduced species like Arum lilies. In hard times wallabies even eat leaf litter so bare ground is common. Kawau’s native forest will not regenerate unless wallabies are either controlled to low densities or eradicated.

Wallabies could also be affecting Kawau’s North Island weka and kiwi populations. By removing seedlings and leaf litter, wallabies reduce food sources such as worms and insects for these birds. Kawau supports two-thirds of the total population of North Island weka and is the last stronghold of this species.
The lack of forest understorey has also led to rapid storm-water runoff, erosion and loss of skeletal soils into the sea”.



Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/