29 Dec THE RELEASE OF ENDANGERED QUOLLS!
Aussie Ark is delighted to announce the release of 10 endangered Eastern Quolls into its Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary. Managing Director Tim Faulkner attended the release, and couldn’t be more proud.
“This is a globally significant moment,” Mr Faulkner said. “This species was declared extinct on mainland Australia in 1963…but here we are, releasing healthy happy animals back into the Australian bush. It’s a spectacular culmination of five years of hard work, and proof again of the success of our breeding and rewilding program.”
Mr Faulkner said the significance of this particular release is the genetic diversity that the 10 animals will bring to the population already living ‘wild’ in the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary.
“This year Aussie Ark was very lucky to receive some new quolls, some new genetics, from the Tasmanian Quoll Program in Tasmania,” Mr Faulkner said. “Our goal is to have a mainland population that is representative of its wild counterpart. So these new quolls that are being released help us achieve that.”
Famous for its spotted coat and bright black eyes, the Eastern Quoll is a cat-sized marsupial carnivore which is solitary and nocturnal in nature.
It was once common across Eastern Australia, but was decimated by feral cats and foxes. Today it can only be found in the wild in Tasmania, but its population continues to plummet.
“Whenever we do a release like this we are turning back time,” Mr Faulkner said. “This exquisite species has suffered so much. This is the second chance it deserves.”
Aussie Ark has successfully bred and rewilded the Eastern Quoll for over five years.
This spring the organisation announced a record-breaking ‘baby boom’ of 63 new quoll babies born in the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary. The news triggered huge media interest across the nation, including prime-time television segments and live studio crosses and interviews with staff.
“The tremendous media and public interest was so uplifting,” Mr Faulkner said. “It showed us how much our work is valued, and proved again that our conservation model is a true example for the world. This model is about achieving a measurable result. From identifying an endangered species, to building up an insurance population, to returning that species back into the wild where it belongs. This is what Aussie Ark specialises in. And today, we’re doing it again.”
All the Eastern Quolls were thoroughly health-checked by Aussie Ark staff prior to release. The health-check included weighing, body condition scoring, and medication to protect the animals from parasites and disease.
“They all passed their health check with flying colours, and are ready for their life back in the ‘wild’,” Mr Faulkner said. “In our 400 hectare feral-proof sanctuary, these lucky quolls will enjoy a life similar to what their ancestors experienced. That’s a great feeling, and the ultimate reward for all of us working for Aussie Ark.”
Manager of Conservation Hayley Shute also attended the Eastern Quoll release, and said it was an ‘emotional’ experience.
“Today’s release, and all our releases, is bitter-sweet for the Aussie Ark team,” Ms Shute said. “We go from daily care and daily checks of these animals, to then putting them back out into the wild. It’s wonderful for the quolls…but we miss them!”
Aussie Ark now boasts the largest population of Eastern Quolls on mainland Australia, and this new cohort adds vital genetic diversity to the population of quolls already living in the 400 hectare Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary.
Huge thanks to our partners and supporters Australian Reptile Park, Glencore, WIRES, Australian Geographic, Volkswagen Australia and Jake Wilton Photography for helping us turn back time.
If you would like to support Aussie Ark’s Eastern quoll program, donate today!