Species profile

Banded Hare-wallaby

Banded Hare-wallaby

Range and abundance

Banded Hare-wallabies once occurred across southern Australia from Victoria to south-west Western Australia. Mainland populations are now extinct. The only extant remnant populations are on Bernier and Dorre Islands, Shark Bay, Western Australia. The Banded Hare-wallaby has been successfully reintroduced to AWC’s Faure Island sanctuary in Shark Bay.

Description

Banded Hare-wallabies are characterised by a series of transverse dark bars that run from the middle of their back to the base of their tail. They have long, thick fur that is predominantly grey but also grizzled with pale yellow and silver; and a rufous tinge on their flanks. Adults have a head-body length of 400 – 450 mm and weigh around 2 kg.  

Ecology

Banded Hare-wallabies feed primarily on shrubs and, to a lesser extent, grasses. They obtain their water requirements through their food and from dew. During the day, animals shelter in dense shrubs on coastal sandplains and dunes. Breeding can occur throughout the year, with a peak in late summer. Embryonic diapause has been recorded in this species. This means that, soon after giving birth, the female mates and the resultant foetus stays dormant (‘quiescent’) whilst the pouch is occupied. In the wild, an individuals’ lifespan is approximately six years.

Threats

Banded Hare-wallabies are susceptible to predation by foxes and cats. Reintroductions to Dirk Hartog Island and Peron Peninsula in Western Australia were unsuccessful due to predation by feral cats, combined with drought. The south-west of Western Australia has experienced a decline in rainfall in recent decades; further declines are likely to reduce population sizes of Banded Hare-wallabies. In the past, extensive areas of Banded Hare-wallaby habitat were cleared for agriculture. 


What is AWC doing?

AWC has reintroduced a population of Banded Hare-wallabies to Faure Island, the original source of animals being Bernier Island. Reintroductions occurred between 2004 and 2013. In the latest reintroduction, 30 animals were translocated, 25 of which have been monitored with radiocollars. AWC is planning to reintroduce the Banded Hare-wallaby to a large predator-free area on Mt Gibson Sanctuary.

Did you know:

It is likely that the Banded Hare-wallaby was the first macropod to have been scientifically described. In 1699, the British explorer William Dampier described it as a “sort of a raccoon” due to the distinctive bands across the animal’s lower back. The species appears to be the sole survivor of a now-extinct group of macropods.