I grew up on the GC, packed my car in search of adventure and ended up in North QLD. Some very lucky Proserpine Rock-wallabies (Petrogale Persephone aka PRW’s) have followed similar footsteps… but for very different reasons.
A mob of PRW’s have lived the dream; born and raised in tailor-made enclosures on the Sunny Gold Coast, then whisked away to an island in the Whitsundays to spend their days rockin’ on in the tropical sunshine. Sounds like heaven ay? Unfortunately the reason behind the move isn’t so dreamy.
PRW’s have a highly restricted range, the smallest of any rock wallaby, and are limited to the area around Proserpine (hence the name) and Airlie Beach. Cane fields, houses and highways have replaced the dry vine forests PRW’s used to call home. They are now listed as endangered under both State and Federal legislations. Some of the major threats include;
- Habitat destruction (a term we hear too much);
- Habitat fragmentation (which is severing corridors and restricting natural movement) and;
- Housing development brings it own suite of threats;
- Predation by domestic pets;
- Increased road kill;
- And to top it off – our feline associates can spread a blood parasite called Toxoplasmosis gondii causing blindness and inevitably death.
So our macropod mates are in the Whitsundays to escape the pressures of reality. The aim of island living is to minimise the threats of disease and predation by securing geographically separate populations of PRW’s.
And despite the gloomy reason for their island getaway, there is light at the end of the tunnel for PRW’s. The island has proved to be an aphrodisiac to these creatures and population numbers suggest they are enjoying Island Lifestyle. So much so that they may be inhabiting more then one Whitsunday Island in the not too distant future.
You too can do your bit for the Prossy Rock-wallaby, in fact all Australian wildlife. If you must own a cat, keep it where it belongs… in a croc trap… I mean… inside the house at all times.