A Quoll-ity Time at Mt Gibson

Recently, Sam our Biodiversity Project Officer and Annabelle our Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator travelled to Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s (AWC) Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary to watch the first Western Quolls (Dasyurus geoffroii) being released back to the Mt Gibson area.

Eleven individuals, 7 females and 4 males were sourced from Julimar State Forest, managed by the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), by the AWC team then housed at Native Animal Rescue in Perth for three nights to allow the individual’s time to rest prior to their release at Mt Gibson.

Western Quoll release at Mt Gibson. Photo credit Brad Leue, AWC

Prior to release, a traditional smoking ceremony was conducted by Badimia elder Gloria Fogarty to cleanse the land, welcome the individual’s home and in recognition of the importance of the occasion. In the darkness, the Quolls were quietly released at designated locations throughout the sanctuary, into roomy hollow logs that provided immediate shelter for them. To be able to monitor the success of the Quoll release camera traps were set at all release locations and radio tracking collars were placed on individuals.  NACC NRM is proud to have a long-standing partnership with AWC and help fund programs such as the Quoll translocation recently undertaken at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary.

AWC is one of Australia’s largest private (not-for-profit) conservation organisations leading the field in the restoration and maintenance of biodiversity across more than 12.9 million hectares. Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary is just one of many AWC properties found Australia-wide that undertake vital programs targeting feral predators through monitoring and eradication, wildlife reintroduction/translocation programs, Australian native species monitoring and general land revegetation and restoration activities.

Photos credit Samantha Comito, NACC NRM

The Western Quoll is the 10th species to be reintroduced at the Mt Gibson site, hoping to improve their ‘vulnerable’ conservation status and establish new populations. Western Quolls (also known by their Noongar name Chuditch) is Western Australia’s largest endemic carnivore, on average adult males weigh 1.3kg and females 0.9kg. Initially, the Western Quoll was found across nearly 70% of Australia’s mainland. Today they remain in only 10% of their former habitats, due largely to predation, changed fire regimes and habitat loss they are now only found in small sub-populations in the Wheatbelt, Goldfields and south-western corner of WA (Threatened Species Strategy 2015-2020 Western Quoll, Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water 2018)

For more information about the Western Quoll please see our Creature feature.

For information on Australian Wildlife Conservation’s release of Western Quolls check out this link!

AWC’s work on Western Quolls is supported by NACC NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Samantha Comito – Biodiversity Project Officer

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