13 Jun QUOLLS GONE WILD
Quolls Gone Wild
Aussie Ark released 17 Eastern quolls back to the wild at Booderee National Park in May 2019. The Eastern quoll is what is known as a ‘critical weight range’ species, lying in the 35g-5.5kg range of mammal weights, which are particularly susceptible to fox predation and more than 15 years of intensive fox management at Booderee National Park has laid the groundwork for this ambitious reintroduction. This provides an ideal opportunity to investigate factors determining successful re-establishment of species in unfenced, predator-managed systems on the mainland, and how reintroduced native predators interact with other species.
Booderee National Park, which is managed by traditional owners and Parks Australia, stretches across 6,379 hectares at Jervis Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales. This spectacular National Park showcases varied habitats from eucalypt woodland, Bangalay sand forests, to rainforests, coastal heathland, mangroves and saltmarshes. The region is diverse and home to over 200 species of bird, 30 species of mammal, 37 species of reptile, 17 species of amphibian and 180 species of native fish and now the Eastern quoll!
Aussie Ark’s project partner Rewilding Australia has been keeping a close eye on each quoll, using data collected from GPS/VHF collars fitted to each individual, providing invaluable information such as preferred habitat selection, home range size and the interactions between each quoll. Taking into consideration the successes and failures of the pilot release in March 2018.
“What a moment! This is what conservation is all about,” Aussie Ark President Tim Faulkner said of the release.
Extinct on the mainland since 1963, Eastern quolls face many threats including; feral cats, foxes, dogs, roadkill, poisoning and trapping. Edging closer and closer to extinction Eastern quolls are in dire need of insurance populations like Aussie Ark, as well as rewilding projects such as this.