Four quolls born in Western Australia sanctuary: a win for threatened species

Four quolls born in Western Australia sanctuary: a win for threatened species

By Ashmeeta Subra  April 23rd, 2024

A quartet of juvenile quolls were recently spotted at Mount Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, marking the first independent births on the sanctuary grounds in Western Australia's Wheatbelt in the last century.


The four tiny Western quolls, also known as Chuditch in the First Nations Noongar language, were spotted playfully engaging with cat traps during routine monitoring activities, leading Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) ecologists to deploy an innovative identification system to identify their newborn status. By comparing their distinct spot patterns against a comprehensive reference library, researchers confirmed the juveniles as native to the sanctuary. 

“We had a mysterious case of cat trap tampering whereby the traps were closed, the bait was gone but no culprit inside,” explained AWC Field Ecologist, Erin Barritt in a press release.  

“We deployed motion-sensor cameras to find out what was going on and sure enough, we found small quolls eating the bait and using their petite size to escape the traps,” she added.  

Using a technique pioneered by Dr. Rosie Hohnen and colleagues in 2011, the team compared the images of the four quolls to those in a reference library of all 45 quolls released at Mt Gibson over the last year. Finding no matches, they confirmed the presence of Mt Gibson’s first sanctuary-born independent juveniles.  

Ecologists named the young quolls after Australia’s favourite biscuits – Tim Tam, Oreo, Monte, and Tiny Teddy, symbolising their new arrival akin to the warmth of freshly baked treats. The quolls represent the 10th locally extinct mammal species released at Mt Gibson as part of an ambitious reintroduction project. 

Since their return to the Wheatbelt, the quolls have acclimatised to their environment, with evidence of breeding surfacing in August last year when a female was discovered carrying bean-sized joeys nicknamed Chudlets. 

The reintroduction of these quolls stands as a testament to conservation efforts and the resilience of Australia’s native wildlife. Plans are already in motion for further reintroductions, offering hope for the continued restoration and preservation of the region’s unique biodiversity. 

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 


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Ashmeeta Subra

With background in international relations and marketing communications, Ashmeeta is excited to use her skills to encourage positive environmental actions through Planet Ark. She believes that by taking small actions, we can help make a big difference and be good stewards of our planet. Outside of work, she loves spending time in nature and enjoying downtime at the beach.

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