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  • The MacDonnell Ranges stand out like a beacon in Australia’s flat, arid landscape
    The region’s s steep crevasses and lush waterways create a unique habitat for animals that call the “West Macs” home. Watch this video, from the Nat Geo WILD series “Destination Wild,” to meet one of these creatures: the black-flanked rock wallaby.
    Use the video and a map of the MacDonnell Ranges to answer questions in the Questions tab, and learn more about rock wallabies in our Fast Facts.
    1. Take a look at our MapMaker Interactive map of the MacDonnell Ranges. What are the two big national parks that span the “West Macs”?

      West MacDonnell National Park stretches more than 2,500 square kilometers (1,990 square miles) across central Australia. Finke Gorge National Park, to the south, is about 250 square kilometers (174 square miles).

    2. Besides the black-flanked rock wallaby, what other animals do you think have adapted to the landscape of the MacDonnell Ranges?

      The “West Macs” are rich in biodiversity, and two of Australia’s iconic species are native to the area.

      Dingoes, a type of wild dog related to the grey wolf, are found in the MacDonnell Ranges. Echidnas, a type of egg-laying mammal, can also be found in the West Macs.

      More familiar animals found in the MacDonnell Ranges include fish, snails, yabbies (crawfish), cockatoos, possums, eagles, and frogs.

  • Black-flanked rock wallabies have thick, textured skin on their hind feet. This helps them cling to steep rock surfaces.

    Wallabies live in groups called mobs. Mobs of black-flanked rock wallabies can range in size from 10 to 100 individuals.

    Rock wallabies can weigh up to 9 kilograms (20 pounds). Dingoes, foxes, and feral cats are predators of the black-flanked rock wallaby.

    Black-flanked rock wallabies are herbivores. They feed mostly on grasses, fruits, and other vegetation.

    Black-flanked rock wallabies, sometimes called black-footed rock wallabies, are classified as “near-threatened” by the IUCN. They are not endangered.

    There are 16 species of rock wallabies. All species are indigenous to Australia and Oceania.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    adaptation Noun

    a modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence. An adaptation is passed from generation to generation.

    Encyclopedic Entry: adaptation
    arid Adjective


    beacon Noun

    guiding landmark or signal, especially one in an elevated position.

    crawfish Noun

    crustacean resembling a small lobster. Also called a crawdad or crayfish.

    crevasse Noun

    deep crack, especially in a glacier.

    Encyclopedic Entry: crevasse
    feral Adjective

    wild or untamed, but descended from domesticated animals.

    habitat Noun

    environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.

    Encyclopedic Entry: habitat
    herbivore Noun

    organism that eats mainly plants and other producers.

    Encyclopedic Entry: herbivore
    iconic Adjective

    event or symbol representing a belief, nation, or community.

    indigenous Adjective

    characteristic to or of a specific place.

    Encyclopedic Entry: indigenous
    landscape Noun

    the geographic features of a region.

    Encyclopedic Entry: landscape
    marsupial Noun

    mammal that carries its young in a pouch on the mother's body.

    national park Noun

    geographic area protected by the national government of a country.

    threatened species Noun

    organism that may soon become endangered.

    unique Adjective

    one of a kind.

    vegetation Noun

    all the plant life of a specific place.

    waterway Noun

    body of water that serves as a route for transportation.