Image: © Aussie Ark

A Big Surprise During Wallaby Health Checks at Aussie Ark


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


March 9, 2023 9:40 pm


Aussie Ark, New South Wales, Australia

Aussie Ark have conducted the annual health checks on their population of endangered brush-tailed rock wallabies finding an exciting surprise in the process. During the checks keepers made the amazing discovery that the population has grown by two with joeys discovered in their mothers pouches.

The conservation project for this species began four years ago at Aussie Ark and they are now one of the leaders in the conservation of this species.

Each year to ensure their health each individual is given a thorough health check. These checks include weighing each animal, checking microchips, applying preventative medicine and doing a ‘body condition score’. Aussie Ark ranger Matt Helm said “the most exciting bit” is conducting pouch checks of females.


“We were thrilled to discover two new joeys,” Mr Helm said. “One was only the size of a grape; so cute! But it was the second, larger joey that excited us the most. Namely its mother has been in an enclosure for quite a while without a male. So this joey is the result of embryonic diapause. It’s the ability for macropods to keep young in a sort of suspended animation until conditions are optimum. The mother then triggers the joey to grow. It’s pretty miraculous!”

Brush-tailed rock wallabies are known for their long brush like tails. They are found along Australia’s east coast from Victoria to Queensland. This species is now found in fragmented populations with as few as 10 individuals in each. They are threatened by feral predation, land-clearing and fire…and their population is plummeting.

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More on Marsupials!

As a marsupial these young wallabies are starting life in a pouch. Find out what else makes these animals unique.

Our Favourite Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby Fact!

One of the first conservation efforts for the brush-tailed rock wallaby was a technique known as cross-foster. In this program the joeys from brush-tailed rock wallabies were taken and placed in the pouch of a less endangered wallaby. This then allows the mother to produce another young straight away rather than waiting till she is done raising her joey increasing the number of joeys produced.

Image: © Aussie Ark

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