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


Wallaby (Swamp) Wallabia bicolor

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Macropodidae
Subfamily: Macropodinae
Genus: Wallabia
Species: W. bicolor
Binomial name: Wallabia bicolor
Common name: Swamp Wallaby

The swamp wallaby is found from the northernmost areas of Cape York in Queensland, down the entire east coast and around to south-western Victoria.
Swamp wallabies are restricted to Kauwau Island where they were introduced in 18the 70s as a curiosity. They inhabit dense kânuka scrub on Kauwau Island with an understorey of minimingi, grass species and tree ferns. Compared to other wallaby species they eat little grass, thus browse on trees and bushes like karaka, mingimingi

Swamp wallabies are one of the larger wallaby’s species. The average length is 76 cm for males, and 70 cm for females (excluding the tail). The tail in both sexes is approximately equal in length to the rest of the body. The average weight for males is 17 kg, females averaging 13 kg.
Its coat has a dark brown, dark grey to a black, region on the back and a light yellow to rufous orange on the belly. There are usually yellow stripes on the cheek. and the extremities of the body generally show a darker colouring, except for the tip of the tail, which is often white. Their gait differs from other wallabies, with the swamp wallaby carrying its head low and tail out straight.

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/