Eastern quolls reintroduced earlier this year to the ACT region after an absence of over 80 years have successfully bred, ACT Minister for the Environment and Heritage Mick Gentleman announced today.
New footage from research cameras at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary shows excitable baby quolls exploring their woodland surrounds while mum keeps watch.
“It is fantastic news that young eastern quoll litters are being raised at Mulligans Flat,” Minister Gentleman said.
“The species was once widespread through the region but eventually became locally extinct due to land clearing, grazing, introduced predators and control programs. The breeding follows the release of 14 eastern quolls into the Sanctuary in March.
“Researchers are currently in the field catching the baby quolls to ascertain exactly how many there are, but trapping to date and captured footage suggest there may be over 25. Rangers and visitors on twilight tours at Mulligans Flat are now seeing them exploring the woodlands.”
Minister Gentleman said the project included the first transfer of wild quolls directly from Tasmania into habitat on the mainland.
The reintroduction project, funded through an Australian Research Council Linkage, is a research partnership between the ACT Government, Australian National University and James Cook University. Other major partners in the project are the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and the Environment, the Mt. Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre and the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust.
Professor Adrian Manning from the ANU’s Fenner School of Environment and Society said the project could ultimately see up to 32 eastern quolls from Tasmania and up to 32 captive quolls from Mt Rothwell in Victoria released at Mulligans Flat over the next three years.
“The aim is not only to establish a robust population at Mulligans Flat, but also to undertake science to find the best ways to maximize the success of reintroductions elsewhere on the mainland in the future,” Professor Manning said.
“It is one of several successful species reintroductions into the Mulligans Flat woodlands with the Eastern Bettong, New Holland Mouse and Bush-stone Curlew all adapting well to the area and breeding.
“The ACT Government established the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary in 2009 in order to restore the woodlands to pre-European conditions, reintroduce native animals and monitor their effects in the woodland ecosystem.”
The academic said the success of the projects was testament to the work of all the partners.
“I look forward to further species been reintroduced in the coming years,” he said.
For footage of the eastern quoll litter and more information on twilight tours of Mulligans Flat visit www.mulligansflat.org.au.