Rewilding the eastern quoll
In Partnership with Parks Australia, Australian National University, WWF-Australia, Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council, and Shoalhaven Landcare, Rewilding Australia is supporting efforts to return the eastern quoll to the wild on mainland Australia. This project is supported by funding from the National Environmental Science Programme’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub.
The Tasmanian Conservation Breeding Program has partnered with the project and Rewilding Australia has assisted in expanding the breeding capacity for eastern quolls at Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary and Devils at Cradle, who are providing eastern quolls for the reintroduction. Eastern quolls are generally considered extinct in the wild on mainland Australia, however still survive in Australia's island state of Tasmania.
Rewilding Australia is also coordinating Eastern Shield Wildlife Recovery Program; a wildlife monitoring and invasive species management across 15,700 hectares of private land adjacent to Booderee National Park to provide added insurance to a reintroduced population of eastern quolls.
Why Booderee National Park?
Reintroduction of the Eastern Quoll to Booderee National Park will facilitate research into the effectiveness of invasive predator management for successful re-establishment of locally extinct species into open landscapes. The species has only been confirmed as being detected once since the collection of a road killed specimen from Sydney in 1963, from a specimen collected in 1989 in the Barrington Tops region of NSW. Reports from the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region in the late 1960s and early 1970s have also been documented.
Reintroductions to mainland Australia to this point in time have only occurred within fenced enclosures. A major impediment to reintroducing the eastern quoll to mainland Australia is introduced predators. Since 2003, Booderee National Park has been subject to intensive feral predator control with resulting declines in foxes and cats to low numbers. The Park therefore 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. Members of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community believe that reintroducing this species will help establish a link with the past rich ecological community that supported their ancestors.
The project seeks to address a commitment by the Australian Government to improve the status of 20 threatened mammal species by 2020; the eastern quoll has been listed as one of these priority species.
Parks Australia, Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council, Threatened Species Recovery Hub researchers at Australian National University, Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), Tasmanian Quoll Conservation Program sanctuaries Devils at Cradle and Trowunna Wildlife Park, WWF-Australia, Rewilding Australia and Shoalhaven Landcare.
Thank you to NSW Local Land Services, NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for providing ongoing program support.
Thanks to Conjour Magazine, Marlin Communications and Young Henrys Brewery for providing support to our volunteers.