The Genetic Threat



The other major threat facing the species is a genetic one.

The yellow footed rock-wallaby historically formed one continuous population from central South Australia up into Queensland.

The fragmentation in the population is a result of the introduction of feral animals and land clearing removing the animals' dispersal pathways. It has seen the Queensland population become genetically distinct from their southern counterparts.

Due to continuing decline in the species numbers, a similar process is now occurring on a much smaller scale in the remaining habitats. Populations separated by as little as 70 km have been found genetically distinct from their neighbours. The limited dispersal now occurring between colonies is hence resulting in a higher degree of inbreeding occurring within colonies.

As a result, small isolated colonies are becoming locally extinct, due to the lack of recruitment from dispersal and predation of young.

The yellow-footed rock wallaby gene pool is becoming dramatically reduced.