The major threats to this species are introduced predators such as foxes and cats, and competitors such as goats and rabbits. Ongoing extreme drought in Australia has also reduced numbers. Furthermore, their island habitats are so small and isolated that fire or disease could easily wipe out a whole population.
Amazing Banded Hare-wallabies
Banded Hare-wallabies are the only remaining members of a lineage called short-faced kangaroos. This group had about 12 species, some of which were huge megafauna – up to 200 kg in weight and three metres tall. Yet Banded Hare-Wallabies are smaller than a domestic cat.
These wallabies live in social groups beneath dense shrubs. They are active mostly at night, travelling through runs and tunnels they create in the shrubbery.
Once widespread across south-western Australia and as far east as the Murray Basin, Banded Hare-wallabies are now restricted to just three west-coast islands. They are a relatively long-lived species (up to six years) but have suffered intense predation from introduced foxes and cats. They are also susceptible to drought, despite obtaining most of their water from their food, since drought kills the plants and shrubs they live among and feed upon.
Female Banded Hare-Wallabies start breeding at one or two years old. They carry their single offspring in their pouch for six months after birth. In times of drought, these wallabies conserve their resources and stop breeding.
A recovery plan for this species is in place; the islands are protected habitat, and captive breeding with releases back into the wild may help increase numbers to healthy levels.