Rewilding Australia together with our program partners have recently undertaken the first trial of a wild reintroduction of the eastern quoll back to mainland Australia. Until recently, only surviving on the island State of Tasmania, the eastern quoll declined dramatically on mainland Australia in the late 1890s possibly as a result of disease. Predation by the newly introduced European red fox would have almost certainly played a significant role in the ongoing decline. Eastern quolls were also heavily persecuted by early settlers, and were routinely drowned, poisoned, clubbed, trapped and shot. By the 1950s only a few scattered populations remained, and by 1960s the last known population surviving on the mainland was finally exterminated through a mix of persecution, habitat loss, and cat and domestic dog predation. Interestingly, a specimen was reportedly collected in the Gloucester region of NSW in 1989, suggesting that the eastern quoll survived on the mainland for longer than generally accepted. Rewilding Australia has provided Program Management for the reintroduction, funding to increase captive breeding capacity in Tasmania and NSW, to transfer animals by road and aircraft, and to purchase GPS/VHF collars to support the ongoing monitoring program, and is now assisting in the research and monitoring effort for the newly wild quolls.
“Eastern quolls would be so cool to have back on the mainland” ―