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Spotting The Spotted-tailed Quoll

Blog Post - Spotting The Spotted-tailed Quoll

The endangered Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is the largest extant marsupial carnivore on the Australian mainland, principally occurring along the eastern seaboard and adjacent ranges and tablelands. However, since European human settlement it has declined to the point where it occupies only fifty percent of its original range. This decline can mostly be attributed to the clearing of preferred forest and woodland habitat, and the introduction of the red fox and feral cat..

In southern NSW, the species is sometimes locally common on public estate, particularly in larger national parks and productive state forests characterised by tall eucalypt trees. But elsewhere, on private property, records of the quoll are scant where apparently suitable habitat is present.

This FNPW-funded project aimed to improve information about the distribution of the species on private land in the region. Using camera trap stations associated with bait lures, surveys for quolls were undertaken across a range of habitat types on 23 properties around the Monaro Tablelands, a dominant feature of the landscape.

Overall, 178 camera traps were deployed and Spotted-tailed quolls were recorded from approximately 30% of camera stations on 9 properties, the majority of which were deployed at the southern end of the Monaro along the Snowy River corridor.

In contrast, introduced predators were more widely distributed across deployment sites, from one end of the study area to the other: the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) was detected at over 60% of camera trap sites and the feral cat (Felis catus) at around 15% of camera stations.

Quolls were detected at camera stations set in open fragmented areas, on the edge of consolidated forest and woodland and within contiguous blocks of native vegetation, highlighting their apparent resilience. Integrated fox and cat control, combined with improving vegetation corridors in areas with little native vegetation cover, should assist in quoll conservation around the Monaro.

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