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Photo courtesty of Lochman Transparencies.
Range and abundance
The Monjon is an endemic of the far northwest Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is entirely restricted to the highly fractured and rocky sandstone country that is found along the Kimberley coastline and on offshore islands in the Bonaparte Archipelago. Its distribution is patchy as it prefers rugged country with large rock outcrops that contain deep crevices and caves.
The Monjon is the smallest of the rock-wallabies. It grows to a head-body length of only 30 – 35 cm and weighs between 900g and 1.4 kg. Its back is marbled olive to tawny black, and has a brownish face with lighter fur around the eyes to snout. Its flanks, tail and feet are a deep greyish-olive, and front is an off white.
Rock-wallabies are most active in the evening and early hours of the morning. During the day Monjon shelter within crevices and caves and at night emerge to forage on grasses and perhaps herbs and leaves. Their habitat is characterised by low open woodlands of eucalypts, acacias, figs and Terminalia.
The most significant threats to the Monjon are likely altered fire regimes, predation by feral cats and grazing by introduced herbivores. The increasingly intense and frequent fires in northern Australia may be more likely to burn into the rocky highly dissected areas the Monjon inhabits. The small Monjon may be at high risk of predation by feral cats, and grazing by introduced herbivores may decrease forage availability.
What is AWC doing?
AWC has begun research on the elusive Monjon and is protecting Monjon habitat in the Artesian Range by implementing fire management (prescribed burning) and eradicating feral herbivores. Prescribed burning on Artesian Range is decreasing the incidence and extent of intense late season wildfires that are more likely to burn into rugged and rocky country. AWC is encouraging a stable Dingo population on Artesian Range, as this has potential to help reduce feral cat activity.