A good news story from the ABC’s Barbara Miller with an announcement the eastern quoll will be reintroduced to the Australian mainland more than 50 years after the species was wiped out by foxes.
Over the next three years, 100 of the spotted, carnivorous marsupials will be released in Booderee National Park in Jervis Bay, New South Wales.
The project is a collaboration by Parks Australia, Rewilding Australia, the Australian National University, Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council and the World Wildlife Fund.
In the past it has been suggested that people be allowed to keep quolls as pets to ensure their long term survial. People suggested they would be a great alternative to cats. This idea never took off but I for one would like to see this consdiered over fox rescue.
Animals for the release will be taken from captive breeding sites at the Devils@Cradle Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary and Trowunna Wildlife Park in Tasmania.
Wade Anthony, species coordinator from the Tasmanian Quoll Conservation Program, said it was a major endeavour.
“To be able to reintroduce the species back into its former home range is something that I think is very important,” he said.
“It might be the first step in a number of different species or a number of different sites for the eastern quolls.”
Eastern quolls have previously been introduced to a fenced site near Canberra, but this will be the first translocation of the animals to the wild.
Rob Brewster, the director of Rewilding Australia, said it was significant to bring back the species.
“It is one of Australia’s most beautiful animals,” he said.
“They used to call them the farmers’ friends. They eat pasture grubs. They eat pests, mice, rats. They are a really fantastic animal to have around.”
ong-nosed potoroos and southern brown bandicoots have already been reintroduced to Booderee National Park. The biggest threat to the reintroduced quolls are foxes.
Mr Brewster said eradicating foxes completely was not realistic.
“We are not going to live without foxes in the landscape”, he said.
“What we want to demonstrate is that we can manage foxes to a level that allows eastern quolls to persist.”
Nick Dexter, parks services manager at Booderee National Park, said the park is baited “probably more intensively than just about anywhere in Australia”.
He expects the quolls to thrive in the woodlands and forested areas.
“They used to be one of the most common animals in south eastern Australia. In fact, they used to reach plague abundance,” Mr Dexter said.
“People would kill hundreds of animals in one night — they were that common — but they have since disappeared entirely from the mainland with the last one being recorded from Sydney, from Vaucluse in 1963.”