Skip to Main Content
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance logo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library logo

Red-necked Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Red-necked Wallaby Macropus rufogriseus

Population Status

Population estimates

  • Wide distribution (Eldridge and Coulson 2015)
  • Considered common, especially in: (Eldridge and Coulson 2015; McKenzie et al. 2016)
    • Tasmania
    • Southeast Queensland
    • Northern New South Wales
  • Declines in some areas of mainland Australia (e.g., South
  • Population trend
    • Stable (McKenzie et al. 2016)

Commercial harvest and trade

  • In 1940s red-necked wallabies declared a pest for their threats to New Zealand sheep pastures (they both eat grass) (Long 2003):
    • 1947 to 1956: 70,000 to 100,000 killed as pest
  • In response to perceived threats to agricultural crops, sheep pastures, and planted forestry seedlings, the New Zealand Biosecurity Act of 1993 requires landowners on New Zealand's South Island to control wallaby populations; control methods may include: (Warburton 2005) (Environment Canterbury 2011):
    • Poisoning
    • Aerial shooting
    • Hunting with dogs
  • Present controls in New Zealand remove around 20% of the population yearly, and are said to not affect overall population numbers
  • Some 30,000 to 50,000 red-necked wallabies are commercially hunted for meat from private lands in Tasmania each year, under the Meat Hygiene Act of 1985 and the Nature Conservation Act of 2002 (Australian Government 2011a,b)
    • These wallabies are considered partly protected wildlife, subject to hunting by licensed, trained hunters
    • Regular monitoring of population numbers provides data for fixing sustainable harvest numbers
    • In 2008-2009 the harvest quotas for Tasmanian red-necked wallabies: 45,000
  • In 2009 the Tasmanian government approved the commercial export of wallaby skins of already harvested red-necked wallabies (Australian Government 2011a)

Conservation Status

  • IUCN
    • Least Concern (2015 assessment) (McKenzie et al. 2016)
    • Previous assessments (McKenzie et al. 2016)
      • 2008: Least concern
      • 1996: Lower risk/least concern
    • Not listed (UNEP 2020)
  • Under Australian law, live Australian native mammals may not be exported for commercial uses under any circumstances (Australian Government 2011c)
  • Some groups within Australia question current government kangaroo and wallaby management practices (Australian Mammal Society 2011)
    • Advocate viewing kangaroos as a valuable resource that fits into an overall conservation ethic rather than as only a pest to be controlled

Threats to Survival

  • No current threats

Interactions with Land Owners

Red-necked Wallaby

Red-necked wallabies are abundant, and are regarded in some areas as pests.

This species is commercially hunted on some private lands. Some Australians propose more conservation-minded approaches to managing red-necked wallaby populations.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

SDZWA Library Links