SYDNEY, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The first pair of brush-tailed rock-wallabies have been released into an animal sanctuary on Tuesday, in an attempt to bring the adored Aussie animal back from the brink of extinction.
Listed as endangered in 2016 by the New South Wales (NSW) State Biodiversity Conservation Act, the adorable Brush-tail rock-wallaby differs from its better known cousin -- the kangaroo -- mainly because of its size.
While Kangaroos can weight up to 90 kgs and stand even taller than a person, wallabies are much smaller, only reaching a height of around 30 cm tall and weighing in at about 25 kg.
Under threat from foxes and wild dogs, as well as habitat degradation from over development, it's believed there are only around 20,000 brush-tailed rock-wallabies left in existence.
But with support from the NSW Government, conservation group Aussie Ark established the animal sanctuary, offering a beacon of hope for the creature.
"We are very proud to be working closely with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to save this species," Aussie Ark President Tim Faulkner said.
"However, it's a sad reality that our wildlife needs to be kept within fenced sanctuaries to ensure their safety."
"What we are doing at Aussie Ark is ensuring that the gorgeous Brush-tailed rock wallaby doesn't die out -- extinction is forever! Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world and we can't let this species go down that path," he said.
Over the next few months, around one dozen more brush-tailed rock-wallabies are set to join the original pair.
Other predator-free sanctuaries have already been set up for endangered animals like the Tasmanian devil, Eastern bettong and Southern brown bandicoot.