The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby was believed to be extinct for much of the 20th century, until the chance discovery of a surviving population in 1973. The reintroduced population at AWC’s Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary has grown to nearly 2,000 individuals, meaning that AWC now protects over 80 per cent of the species’ entire population.
AWC protects over 80 per cent of the entire Bridled Nailtail Wallaby population. The predator-free fenced area at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the largest population anywhere, last estimated at 1,720.
In 2019, AWC plans to reintroduce Bridled Nailtail Wallabies to the Pilliga, within the 5,800 hectare feral predator-free area constructed under our partnership with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. In time, AWC’s populations in NSW are projected to grow to at least 3,000 individuals.
Over the last 20 years, Bridled Nailtail Wallaby populations in unfenced National Parks have declined almost to extinction, while the population within Scotia’s feral predator-free fenced area has increased to nearly 2,000 animals.
Reasons attributed to the decline of this species include competition for resources with domestic stock (particularly sheep), altered habitat and predation by exotic predators – especially feral cats and foxes. Large numbers were killed by pastoralists in the early 20th century, and were hunted for their pelts.
The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby is a medium-sized wallaby, with males reaching up to 8kg and females 6kg. They are easily identifiable by the white ‘bridle’ line which runs from the back of the neck down behind each of the forearms. Their fur is soft and greyish in colouration, becoming darker towards the tip of the tail.
Bridled Nailtails are mostly nocturnal, emerging to feed in open grassy areas before dusk. During cooler months they are sometimes seen basking in the afternoon sun. During the day they shelter in hollow logs or beneath bushes, sometimes excavating a shallow depression or ‘scrape’.
Bridled Nailtails are usually solitary, sometimes feeding together in small groups. Their diet consists of mixed forbs, grass and browse, including chenopod species and soft grasses (such as species of Chloris, Sporobolus, and Bothriochloa).
Breeding is opportunistic and can occur at any time of year when conditions are favourable.
Range and abundance
The Bridled Nailtail Wallaby was historically found throughout the semi-arid south-eastern Australia, from the Murray River in north-western Victoria to Charters Towers in Queensland. There are records from the slopes and plains west of the Great Dividing Range, in tall shrubland and grassy woodland habitats.
The only naturally occurring population is confined to Taunton National Park in Queensland, with small reintroduced populations present at Idalia National Park and Avocet Nature Refuge in central Queensland.
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