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Talking about Quolls

February 17, 2019

Some years ago we were involved in an unsuccessful survey using hair traps to detect the possible presence of Spotted-tailed Quolls, Dasyurus maculatus, (pictured left) in Tallarook State Forest. After that experience we tended to conclude that the quoll was locally extinct and rumoured sightings were shelved in our mind into the same category as the Thylacine, black panther and even the mythical bunyip!

But recent survey work by the Australian Quoll Conservancy as part of the Victorian Quoll Project has thrown new light on the possible occurrence of quolls in our general area. The AQC project aims to establish a reliable and continuous survey program to determine Spotted-tailed Quoll numbers and distribution in Victoria. It also aims to foster greater awareness of the species through educational events with community partners.

Chris Cobern, coordinator with the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network, is one of a number of volunteers with AQC and reports that they have found scats in the Wallaby Creek area that have been positively identified as containing grooming hairs of a Spotted-tailed Quoll by ecologist (and scat analyser) Barbara Triggs, author of Tracks, Scats and Other Traces – A Field Guide to Australian Mammals. Remote camera deployment is also being used as part of the Victorian Quoll Project, and a yet to be confirmed photo of a quoll was recently recorded. In the Kinglake area Chris has obtained photos of the related Brush-tailed Phascogale (at right), but as yet no quolls.

The project findings reinforce the need for work being undertaken by the King Parrot Catchment Fox Control Project, and both Parks Victoria and DEWLP will be ramping up feral cat and fox control in the Kinglake National Park and Mt. Disappointment State Forest areas with a view to protecting the endangered quoll from the threats of competition and predation.

Alberto Vale, president of the AQC, is currently here on a trip from north Queensland and will be giving a presentation on the Spotted-tailed Quoll in Kinglake West this coming Thursday 21st February. The talk is jointly sponsored by Focus on Fauna and the Fauna and Toolangi group. All are welcome, but RSVP is essential – click on the thumbnail flyer at left.

And as to why it’s called spotted-tailed when in fact it’s spotted all over? All four of Australia’s quoll species have white spots on the body, but the Spotted-tailed is the only one with spots on its tail – simple really!

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