BY assistant Prof Bruce Baer Arnold
LOCAL conservators are calling on the Canberra community to help save the Spotted-tailed Quoll, before it disappears from the ACT.
Community input is being sought so a new plan can be put in place, and the public is also urged to report any sightings, says ACT conservator Ian Walker.
“The Spotted-tailed Quoll is the largest marsupial carnivore on mainland Australia and plays an important ecological role as a high order predator,” Mr Walker says.“The end goal is to maintain long-term, suitable habitat conditions that will support wild populations of the quolls within our region by preserving their habitat, managing any threats to them and knowing more about them.
“Currently Spotted-tailed Quolls are incredibly rare in the ACT, with an average detection rate of one animal per year since 2005, usually either through reported sightings or road kill.
“They are more active in the winter breeding season, so we have cameras placed at potential sites of quoll activity. They haven’t, as yet, recorded anything but we hope to have more luck soon.
“Quoll numbers have declined since European settlement. It is believed the introduction of strychnine baiting in the Canberra district in 1861 led to their widespread poisoning.
“Today their greatest threats include destruction of habitat, fire, competition and predation from introduced carnivores, and road mortality.
“We hope that one day the ACT can be a healthy breeding ground for quolls, so their strongholds in the region are not just limited to Kosciuszko National Park.”
Spotted-tailed Quolls have been listed as “vulnerable” on the Threatened Native Species List since 2003 and are a different species to the Eastern Quolls being reintroduced to the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary.
Spotted-tailed Quolls are larger and have spots on their tail as well as their body.
Submissions to yoursay.act.gov.au until October 29.