The Spotted-tailed Quoll (aka Tiger Quoll) is the largest native marsupial carnivore left on the Australian mainland. Sadly its population has declined to the point where it now occupies just 50% of its original pre-European range.
In southern New South Wales the quoll’s status is still mostly uncertain, particularly away from major expanses of timbered country including Kosciuszko National Park and along the coastal escarpment. There is actually no information to suggest that the species persists in the fragmented timbered landscape that is typical along the edge of the Monaro Tablelands.
This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.
Commencing in autumn 2016, a new project funded by FNPW will aim to survey for the species in such landscapes, including private tenures, to establish where quolls still occur. The sites recorded during this program will hopefully form part of a broader regional network of places where the ongoing status of quolls can be re-measured over time against a backdrop of different land management activities.
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.
Through two winters, Dr Andrew Claridge from NSW National Parks and Wildlife, his colleagues and volunteers used a combination of remote infrared cameras and mapping of latrine sites to detect quolls in key areas around the Monaro.
The success of the project was measured by a number of factors including the number of new localities discovered, the range of land tenures visited for surveying, the involvement of private landholders, and improving awareness and understanding of quolls in the community.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
FNPW supports projects across Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.
PROGRESS OF THIS PROJECT
The project was completed in 2017.
This project was funded by FNPW in 2015.