STEPPING STONES IN THE SOUTHERN DOWNS
Tracking quolls in the Granite Belt
The Southern Downs and surrounding areas are the last stronghold for the spotted-tailed quoll in southern Queensland. Through our Stepping Stones project, we are working to restore connectivity for quolls along with the critically endangered regent honeyeater and swift parrot.
Working with private landholders, we are planting corridors and stepping stones to allow quolls to move more easily across the landscape. The project will involve over 30 properties and will aim to plant more than 20,000 native trees and shrubs.
Contact us if you are a landholder in the Southern Downs or eastern Goondiwindi local government areas, and want to be part of this amazing project.
This project received grant funding from the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund.
SECRET LIVES OF QUOLLS
Tracking quoll movements in the Granite Belt
Despite their size and position as apex predators, we still know very little about what spotted-tailed quolls get up to after dark. We are unravelling some of these mysteries by tracking the movements of quolls in and around Girraween National Park.
Using PVC traps, we capture quolls and fit them with a GPS collar before releasing them. Collars are designed to fall off after three months, but if all goes well we will re-trap and retrieve the collars before that.
So far, the project has provided invaluable information on quoll movements, with four male quolls tracked for periods of four to eight weeks. We have learnt that quolls will use farmland, put only where there is corridors or patches of remnant vegetation, while male quolls roam over home ranges up to 2500 hectares!
This project has been funded through two Queensland Community Sustainability Action grants.
JOINING THE DOTS
Mapping the distribution of the spotted-tailed quoll in South East Qld.
The Quoll Society was successful in applying for funding through the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action Grants Program to map the current distribution of quolls in South East Queensland. Spotted-tailed quolls were once found from the Queensland-New South Wales border north to Gladstone, and west to Dalby. Recent records (since 2010) have been restricted to the border area near Warwick, Logan south of Brisbane, and the area east of Wivenhoe Dam.
We'll be deploying camera traps across at least 36 national parks, state forests, local conservation areas, and private lands, to find out where quolls are surviving in Queensland. We will use the results of the study to create partnerships with government, community groups and private landholders to proactively conserve and increase remaining quoll populations, as well as restoring areas where quolls previously occurred but are now absent.
Estimating population size and densities of spotted-tailed quolls in New South Wales national parks
Did you know that each quoll has an individual spot pattern that acts like a unique fingerprint? This technique has been used to identify individual northern quolls in the Kimberley. QuollSA is using the same methods to identify and count spotted-tailed quolls in national parks near Tenterfield, NSW. Camera traps collect thousands of images of quolls (and other animals) three to four times a year to assess changes in population sizes through seasons and from year to year.
The project aims to prove the feasibility of this technique, which will allow future quoll surveys to use camera traps instead of invasive and stressful live trapping. Eventually, we aim to have monitoring sites set up throughout eastern Australia so we can monitor local, regional and national spotted-tailed quoll populations, allowing management actions to be swiftly undertaken if population declines are recorded.