01 Nov A BABY BOOM OF EASTERN QUOLLS
Aussie Ark, is excited to announce a baby boom of Eastern Quolls at its famous Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary. Health checks by staff reveal a total of 63 joeys born in the ‘wild’; the highest number ever recorded by Aussie Ark in one breeding season.
The endangered marsupials have called Aussie Ark home since nine animals were delivered to the organisation from Tasmania in 2017, as a safeguarding ‘insurance population’. Since that time, Aussie Ark has successfully bred and released over 250 quolls into its feral-proof sanctuary, offering the species hope for the future.
“This Quoll baby boom is truly incredible!” Said Dean Reid, Aussie Ark Operations Manager. “It’s significant not only for our organisation, but also Australia and the world. You need to remember that Eastern Quolls have been extinct on mainland Australia since 1967! So, the birth of these joeys feels like a modern Jurassic Park; bringing a species back from the brink, to reclaim the Australian bush.”
Eastern Quolls were part of the Australian landscape for millions of years, serving an important role as carnivores. But predation by feral animals as well as poisoning, trapping and land clearing resulted in its demise. It’s thought the last mainland Australian Quoll was killed in 1963, leaving Tasmania as their only stronghold. But sadly, the Tasmania population has declined by 50% in the past 10 years and shows no sign of recovery.
“This is a species that continues to face complete annihilation,” said Mr Reid. “So this makes our successful breeding season even more significant, and special. It shows what this animal can do given the right conditions and protected environment. It’s a conservation model and success story that’s hopefully a positive example for the world.”
Eastern Quolls breed in early winter and have a gestation period of 21 days. Females can give birth to up to 30 young, but only have six teats in their pouch. So the first joeys to attach themselves to the teats are the ones who survive, where they remain for about 10 weeks after which they detach and are nurtured by mum. Towards the end of November, when the quolls are between 18 to 20 weeks of age, they are weaned and become independent.
Aussie Ark Supervisor Tyler Gralton oversaw the pouch checks that revealed the record number of baby quolls. “This is what our work is all about, this is the ultimate reward for all the years of care,” Mr Gralton said. “To open pouch after pouch and see so many joeys is a sight I’ll never forget.”
As part of the Tasmanian Quoll Conservation Program, Aussie Ark is committed to the long-term conservation of this charismatic species. The joeys born this year will live out their lives in Aussie Ark’s protected 400 hectare Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary…and will one day breed themselves!
You can support our Eastern Quoll program by donating to Aussie Ark today!