Monday, 1 September 2008

Ranger pushes for quoll funding

Ranger pushes for quoll funding
12/06/2008 8:37:00 AM
The discovery of spotted-tailed quolls at a Spicer’s Creek property has led the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to issue a request for people to report future sightings.
A map released by the department last week shows there have been up to 10 spotted-tailed quoll sightings in the local area in the past 15 years.
“We would certainly be interested in hearing from anyone who thinks they might have seen one,” NPWS ranger Melanie Bannerman said.
The public interest has also prompted a local ranger to push for funding to monitor the vulnerable native animals.
“With sightings near Ballimore, Red Hill and Spicer’s Creek there have been five sightings in the local area in recent years,” Rural Lands Protection Board ranger Lisa Thomas said.
She is very excited about the find and hopes it will lead to widespread support to allow for survival of the species. Mrs Thomas said the area where they were found, with its natural bushland and granite outcrops, is a perfect breeding ground.
“I don’t want it to impact on farmers’ livelihoods but I’d like to seek funding to operate further monitoring,” she said.
Suggestions made by Mrs Thomas were to encourage a study of their habitat including setting up a camera to record the quoll’s nocturnal activities.
It is already known that foxes are a major threat to the quolls both in terms of food sources and predation.
So with the spotted-tailed quoll’s breeding cycle now in full swing and the upcoming fox baiting season, Mrs Thomas said it is important to consider best practices. In fact, she believes it is the efforts being made to reduce pests that has contributed to increased quoll activity.
“We already know that quolls are not prone to digging so underground baiting will still be effective.”
Mrs Thomas now hopes that landholders will remain vigilant in pest eradication but to be aware of the native fauna.
“To be more observant and acknowledge what’s there,” was her advice.
“And to keep a balance.”
The annual fox baiting information sessions will begin at the end of June with the Spicer’s Creek meeting planned for mid-July.

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