Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes

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Wildlife Australia, December 1996
ISBN 0 6422 1395 X

Recovery Outlines

Conservation status for each taxon is provided following IUCN (1994). The criteria (A to E) are given after the IUCN Red List Category (see Appendix C).


IUCN 1994. IUCN Red List categories. Prepared by the IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.


Recovery Outline

Tammar Wallaby (SA)

1 Family: Macropodidae

2 Scientific name: Macropus eugenii eugenii (Desmarest, 1817)

3 Common name: Tammar Wallaby (SA)

4 Conservation status: Extinct in the Wild

5 Other subspecies:

For the purpose of assigning conservation status, we have recognised two other subspecies: M. e. derbianus (WA) and M. e. decres (Kangaroo Island), both of which are Lower Risk (near threatened).

6 Former distribution:

South Australia: Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas and near Adelaide, Saint Peter, Flinders and Thistle Islands.

7 Current distribution:

Extinct on SA mainland and on St Peters, Flinders and Thistle Islands. Feral populations in New Zealand, including Kauwau Island, probably derived from this subspecies (Poole et al. 1991).

8 Habitat:

Poorly recorded. Wood Jones (1924) recorded that "only a few years ago [tammars] swarmed in scrub-covered country all over the state, today it seems impossible to secure a mainland specimen". On Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas, tammars were reported from dense scrub areas (Copley et al. 1984, Saunders and St John 1986) and Wood Jones (1924) noted that on Flinders Island they were "... restricted to a very small area of the island" where the thickest scrub cover remained (see also Delroy 1974).

9 Reasons for decline:

Unknown; probably due to a combination of land clearing, impacts of settlers' fires, predation by introduced predators (especially cats and foxes) hunting by early settlers. Wood Jones (1924) noted that "even comparatively recently the [Flinders Island Tammar] was very numerous, and that it had been reported that as many as 30 000 were killed on the island. In 1910 a destructive bushfire swept the portion of the island occupied by the wallabies, and when I visited the place in 1920 no traces of it were to be found, and the tenant believed it to be extinct. In 1922 I again visited the island and found obvious evidences of its presence, but no actual specimen was seen. In 1924 the little colony had considerably increased". Wood Jones also commented about he mainland population(s) that "... in places where annual battues were held by the present landowners less than twenty years ago it has disappeared altogether". Moreover, Copley et al. (1984) noted that on the northern Yorke Peninsula, the District Council of Ninnes was paying threepence for wallaby scalps in 1885, ninepence in 1898 and the species was still causing a nuisance in crops and providing sport for hunters in 1899-1901.

10 Additional studies required for recovery objectives and actions to be defined:

Completion of genetics study of Australian and New Zealand populations.

11 Recovery Objectives:

11.1 Clarify relationships of New Zealand populations.

11.2 Subject to reasonable proof that NZ populations were derived from SA (but not Kangaroo Island), re-introduce from NZ to suitable SA sites.

12 Management actions completed or under way:

Skull morphometrics of all skulls available from all Australian and NZ populations. Genetic relationships study underway.

13 Management actions required:

Subject to reasonable proof that New Zealand populations were derived from SA (but not Kangaroo Island):

13.1 Select suitable reintroduction site(s).

13.2 Transfer animals from New Zealand to SA.

13.3 Release and monitor population.

14 Organisation(s) responsible for conservation of species:

SA Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

15 Other organisations or individuals involved:

Dr Des Cooper, Macquarie University.

16 Staff and financial resources required for recovery to be carried out:

To be determined.


Copley P.B., Tideman J. and Copley B.J. 1984. Flora and fauna. Pp. 17-38 in R.M. Patterson and E.L. Price From stumps to stubble: a history of the District of Bute. District Council of Bute, Bute.

Poole W.E., Wood J.T. and Simms N.G. 1991. Distribution of the Tammar, Macropus eugenii, and the relationships of populations as determined by cranial morphometrics. Wildlife Research 18, 625-639.

Saunders G.M. and St John B.J. 1986. Initial search for rare macropods on the Eyre Peninsula. Department of Environment and Planning, Adelaide.

van Oorschot R.A.H. and Cooper D.W. 1988. Limited allozymic variation in a marsupial, the Tammar Wallaby (Macropus eugenii). Biochemical Genetics 26, 481-488.

Wood Jones F. 1924. The mammals of South Australia. Part II. The bandicoots and herbivorous marsupials. Government Printer, Adelaide.