IUCN threat status:

Extinct (EX)

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Crescent nail-tailed wallaby (Onychogalea lunata)

The crescent nail-tailed wallaby or wurrung lived in in stony hills, mulga country and open woodland , shrublands and scrub. It occupied a large area of central Australia, including the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia (2). It had silky fur and, like other nail-tail wallabies, had a horny spur at the tip of its tail. This hare-sized mammal was the smallest nail-tail wallaby at about 37 cm (15 in) tall.[3] The upperparts were ash-grey with a rufous wash on the shoulders and across onto the flanks. A white crescent spread from the shoulder blades down to the chest, with another white patch along the thigh.

During the day, the wallaby sheltered below trees and shrubs (8). When it was chased, it tended to seek refuge in a hollow tree. It entered at the bottom, clambered up and appeared at an opening high above. While running, it held its forelimbs awkwardly and moved them in a rotary motion.[3] It ate grass.

It was relatively common in the late 19th century and stayed common, even in agricultural districts in south-west Western Australia, until about 1900. It had begun a steep decline by 1908, when the last wallaby was caught there. It occurred in areas that are now included within West MacDonnell National Park (7) and probably Watarrka and Uluru Kata Tjuta. The last specimen to be collected alive was caught in a dingo trap on the Nullarbor Plain in 1927 or 1928. W.A. Mills sent it to Taronga Zoo in Sydney and the animal ended up in the Australian Museum. Aboriginal oral histories indicate that it may have survived in the more arid parts of its distribution until the 1950s (2), but it probably became extinct about 1956, but some people suggested that it became xtinct in the Northern Territory in the 1960s (8, 9). There is a doubtful record from the early 1960s and the species was considered endangered in the 1970s before being classified as extinct in 1982. It was probably extirpated by predation from introduced foxes and cats. Habitat alteration and degradation, including changing fire regimes and the impact of rabbits and introduced stock and other herbivores, may have had an impact. In south-western Western Australia and parts of New South Wales, pastoral expansion was probably detrimental to the species.

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