Friday, 4 June 2010

Rare quoll drops by for Penrith vet visit

03 Jun, 2010 10:58 AM

A RELATIVE of the Tasmanian Devil was the last thing an Erskine Park pigeon breeder expected to find caught in his feral cat trap last Thursday.

This rare spotted-tail quoll has now been returned to his bushland habitat in the Blue Mountains after he ventured into the suburban outskirts along Erskine Park Road last week. Also known as the tiger quoll, the critter is a critically endangered species and the largest carnivorous marsupial in mainland Australia.

The introduction of feral animals, diseases and the destruction of their forest habitats has greatly reduced their numbers in recent years.

Renowned for their feisty nature, this young quoll was in perfect health and enjoyed an overnight feast of frozen chicken necks before being returned to the bush the next day.

"It's extremely unusual to see one in Sydney," said Jilea Carney, a spokesman for WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Incorporated), Australia's largest wildlife rescue organisation.

WIRES volunteer rescuer and St Clair resident Sean Cade, who spent Thursday night caring for the quoll, believes recent backburning in the Blue Mountains forced the quoll to venture further afield and become displaced. ``He was very frightened,'' he said. ``It's in the middle of breeding season, so he would have been looking for mates.''

Mr Cade said it was unlikely there were others in the area. ``There are people who have been with WIRES for 20 years who had never seen one until now,'' he said.

Residents who spot one should contact WIRES on 89773333.

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