The ACT Government has released a new plan to help the vulnerable Spotted-tailed Quoll, which has almost disappeared from the Territory. Habitats for native plants and animals will also be better protected following fresh recognition of the negative impacts of habitat fragmentation.
The 2019 Spotted-tailed Quoll Action Plan lays out how we can maintain long-term, suitable habitat conditions to support wild quoll populations in our region.
We want the ACT to be a healthy breeding ground for these quolls so their strongholds in the region are not just limited to Kosciuszko National Park.
The plan aims to protect local habitat, especially around sites that are suitable for dens, and maintain connectivity with surrounding NSW so quolls can move easily to and from cross-border habitat.
The Spotted-tailed Quoll is incredibly rare in the ACT and has been listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the Threatened Native Species List since 2003, with an average detection rate of one animal per year since 2005.
Implementation will include surveys and supporting research on the species and its ecology. Canberrans are encouraged to report any sightings of this elusive animal to help these efforts.
Land management activities like baiting for pest predators and prescribed burns will be undertaken in accordance with best practice guidelines to reduce impacts on quolls.
The ACT Government is also formally recognising unnatural fragmentation as a Key Threatening Process following advice from the scientific committee. This will help protect native species like Quolls, Grassland Earless Dragons, Golden Sun Moths and Striped Legless Lizards.
When it comes to patches of habitat, bigger is better. Large connected habitats offer more opportunities for animals to breed, increased biodiversity and improved resilience of flora and fauna.
This new recognition makes habitat fragmentation a planning consideration for future developments.
The Grassland Earless Dragon’s habitat is greatly reduced and now spread across isolated grassland patches in the ACT and Queanbeyan. Grassland Earless Dragons are very reluctant to cross small distances of bare ground so if it is lost from one patch, it will not be able to return.
The ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna Ian Walker will now develop a more detailed action plan to further protect native species from unnatural fragmentation of their habitat.
Quotes attributable to Conservator of Flora and Fauna Ian Walker
“Spotted-tailed Quolls are the largest marsupial carnivore on mainland Australia and play an important ecological role as a high order predator.”
“Numbers declined with European settlement. It is believed the introduction of strychnine baiting in the Canberra district in 1861 led to their widespread poisoning.”
“Today their greatest threats include destruction of habitat, fire, competition and predation from introduced carnivores—and road mortality.”
“Cameras and surveys looking for quoll scat in selected areas of Namadgi National Park in recent years have failed to detect the species, but we hope broader surveys will uncover the species.”
Images of Spotted-tailed Quolls and other native species is available in this dropbox.
The quoll action plan is available at: www.yoursay.act.gov.au/spotted-tailed-quoll.
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Section: Mick Gentleman, MLA | Media Releases
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