Wild - 11-15 years
Captive - 11-15 years
Extinction is forever?
The parma wallaby was though extinct until 1965 when two populations were discovered. One was in their native Australia but the other was over 4000km from home on a small island off the New Zealand coast where they had been introduced previously.
Unfortunately despite attempts to reintroduce the species in to new areas they still retain only a small range across the Australian east coast within the state of New South Wales.
They are the smallest member of the genus macropus and spend their day hidden in brush before emerging at night to feed.
What does the Parma Wallaby look like?
The body of the parma wallaby is covered by reddish-grey or brown fur. A black stripe is present on the back and a white stripe runs along the sides of the mouth. The fur on the underside of the body is white.
Males are larger than females. An average male will measure up to 52.8cm (20.7in) long and weigh up to 5.9kg (13lbs). An average female is up to 52.7cm (20.7in) long and weigh up to 4.8kg (10.6lbs). Their tail adds between 41 and 54cm (16-21.5in) long.
The population in New Zealand is smaller in most measurements than those found in Australia.
How does the Parma Wallaby survive in its habitat?
The female has the ability to have another embryo ready to develop while raising her current joey. This allows them to give birth immediately should their current joey pass away.
What does the Parma Wallaby eat?
Parma wallabies are herbivores. Their diet includes a range of grasses, bark and herbs. They will also on fungi and assist their environment by spreading the spores. These are deposited along with their feaces which acts as fertilizer for the fungi to grow.
Where do you find the Parma Wallaby?
Australia is the native home of the parma wallaby. Currently the species is restricted to New South Wales on the east coast and is restricted to areas around the great dividing range in this state. They previously occurred in the Illawarra region of New South Wales but are considered extinct in this area.
An introduced population of this species can be found in New Zealand. The feral population on Kauwau Island was the last known population on Earth until their reintroduction to Australia.
Where can the Parma Wallaby survive?
Parma wallabies are found in forest habitats. They primarily occupy sclerophyll forest and rainforest. They can be identified within an area due to the well-used runways which form along regularly used tracks.
How does the Parma Wallaby produce its young?
Breeding can occur year round but a peak is observed from January to June.
Gestation last just 35 days before the joey will make its way to the pouch where it will live for the first 30 weeks of life. Here they feed on milk from a teat to which they are firmly attached. Inside the pouch is four teats but only a single one is used by each joey which is raised. A previous joey may be drinking from its teat while a new joey is the pouch.
A single joey is raised at a time with another embryo waiting to develop and often the last joey still at foot receiving the care from the mother.
Sexual maturity is achieved at 1 year for females and 2 years for males.
What does the Parma Wallaby do during its day?
This species is primarily active by night. During the day they seek out cover among dense brush.
Predators and Threats
What stops the Parma Wallaby from surviving and thriving?
Natural predators of the parma wallaby include dingoes, pythons and birds of prey. Introduced predators such as the red fox and feral cats have a significant impact on their populations and have affected efforts to reintroduce the species.
They are affected through deforestation which has led to fragmentation of their habitat and populations. Grazing activities have led to a reduction in an available shelter which further affects them. Vehicle strikes, weed presence and inappropriate habitat management are other threats to their survival.
The most recent estimate of their population was made in 1992 at between 1,000 and 10,000 but evidence has shown a further decline since.
This species was though extinct until 1965 when they were rediscovered both in Australia and in New Zealand.
The name parma is taken from an Aboriginal word which was used for the species.
They may also be known as the white-throated wallaby.
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Hall, L.S. et al. (2016) Field guide to Australian mammals. Glebe, N.S.W.: Pascal Press.
Ambrose, J. and Packham, C. (2015) Wildlife of the world. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Lunney, D. & McKenzie, N. 2019. Macropus parma. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T12627A21953067. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T12627A21953067.en. Accessed on 26 October 2022.
Parma wallaby - profile (no date) Parma Wallaby - profile | NSW Environment, Energy and Science. Available at: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10501 (Accessed: October 26, 2022).
Eldridge, M.D.M. (2022) Parma Wallaby, The Australian Museum. The Australian Museum. Available at: https://australian.museum/learn/animals/mammals/parma-wallaby/ (Accessed: October 26, 2022).
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