Australian Ecosystems Foundation is supporting the recovery of a rare, near-extinct Australian marsupial predator. Trevor Evans, a founding member of AEFI and Australian Geographic 2010 Conservationist of the Year has been breeding Eastern Quolls (Dasyurus viverrinus) at Secret Creek Sanctuary since 2003 and now holds the largest captive breeding population on mainland Australia. This population is becoming increasingly important as the species continues to disappear throughout its remaining range. Eastern quolls are extinct on mainland Australia, and Tasmania has been the last stronghold for this quoll for many years. However there is now evidence of a ten year decline in population numbers in Tasmania and a submission has just been made to list the species as threatened in this last island refuge.
AEFI is part of the Eastern Quoll Management Group; a group dedicated to conserving the species on mainland Australia. The quolls are exchanged with other private sanctuaries in NSW and Victoria, and each year new quolls are brought up from Tasmania to ensure good levels of genetic diversity in the captive population.
The aim of the breeding program is to return the eastern quoll to the wild on mainland Australia. AEFI is working through a 7 step reintroduction process, which includes genetic testing of the captive population to make sure they are fit enough for release, and disease testing to make sure the quolls don’t introduce anything to wildlife at the reintroduction site and also to make sure they are not susceptible to any diseases already out there in the wild.
Eastern Quolls are beautiful animals, with light to chocolate brown coats covered in white spots, providing them with perfect camouflage as they move through the bush with great speed and agility. This quoll is a medium-sized marsupial predator, growing up to the size of a small domestic cat, and is capable of hunting animals the size of a rabbit. However they are predominantly insectivorous eating a variety of small prey, as well as vegetation and fruit. They were once widely found from northern NSW, down to Victoria and South Australia, but the last confirmed sighting on the mainland was in the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse in 1963. Quolls are part of the Dasyurid family and related to the Tasmanian Devil, the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger and the smaller Dasyurids such as antechinuses.
If you would like to support this project to secure the future of this endearing, spotted marsupial carnivore please make a donation. All donations of $2 or over are tax deductible.