Queensland's Quolls webinar
November 4, 2020 Events No Comments
Queensland's Quolls webinar

 

Thank you to everyone for tuning in to our Queensland’s Quolls webinar. We hope you enjoyed the event. Below you’ll find:

  • PowerPoint presentations to download
  • additional Q&As not recorded in the webinar
  • full webinar recording
  • information about how you can support the Quoll Seekers Network
  • further information about quolls.

About the event

Australia has four species of quoll: the spotted-tailed, the northern, eastern and western quoll. The spotted-tailed quoll and the smaller northern quoll are both found in Queensland.  The spotted-tailed quoll is mainland Australia’s largest native marsupial carnivore

In this FREE one-hour Wildlife Queensland webinar, presenters Matt Cecil (Wildlife Queensland) and Dr Sean FitzGibbon (University of Queensland) provide a fascinating look at Queensland’s quolls, with a specific focus on the endangered spotted-tailed quoll. Learn about these amazing marsupials, their habitat and ecology, as well as the threats they face and current conservation initiatives. Ask questions during our Q&A session.

You’ll also find out about Wildlife Queensland’s Quoll Seekers Network program, and how you can help to save the spotted-tailed quoll.

Presentations

Queensland’s Quolls
Dr Sean FitzGibbon, University of Queensland

Quoll Seekers Network
Matt Cecil, Wildlife Queensland

Webinar recording

Click here to watch the full webinar recording

Q&As

Below you’ll find our presenters’ responses to questions asked during the webinar.

Q. Please provide tips for lures to put out for a fauna camera to see if there are any in Western Brisbane Land for Wildlife properties.

A. Chicken frames/wings and tuna oil are commonly used as a lure for this species. Consider the requirement for ethics approval to use IR cameras in conjunction with a lure, however.

Q. How much does an adult weigh?

A.Male STQ 2.1 – 7kg; Female STQ 1.2 – 4.3kg

Q. Do you have a vocal sample?

A. Yes, we have an audio recording of a spotted-tailed quoll on our species profile web page.

Q. Is 1080 baiting still considered a threat to them?

A. (Dr Sean Fitzgibbon within the presentation). 1080 is certainly a threat to spotted-tailed quoll. However, the weight of literature leans towards the benefit of feral animal control as a whole outweighing the potential negative impacts to spotted-tailed quolls. Also worth noting that quolls (and most native mammals) have a higher tolerance to 1080 than introduced predators because the chemical is derived from a native Australian plant.

Q. I heard that predation by quolls on cane toads was a major factor in the death of quolls – is this correct?

A. This is correct. Cane toads are one of many drivers of decline impacting this species.

Q. Is the habitat guide specific only to South East QLD or could it be helpful as my property is in the Blue Mountains NSW where we have two confirmed sightings with photo evidence?

A. The habitat guide covers issues that are relevant to spotted-tailed quoll across their range. You can find the guide on the Wildlife Queensland Website.

Q. Have quolls in SEQ learned to avoid cane toads?

A. Difficult to answer as the research hasn’t been conducted.

Q. Is there any chance that there could be quolls in the Gold Coast hinterland, Tallebudgerra or Currumbin Creek valleys?  

A. There is always a chance. Given the connectivity of Lamington National Park, Border Ranges National Park, Mount Barney National Park and Koreelah National Park, it certainly possible. Spotted-tailed quolls were known from national parks in the Gold Coast hinterland but I am not aware of any recent records (but may persist undetected).

Q. I understand there is a population of quolls inland from Rockhampton. Which species would that be?

A. This would be a population of northern quoll Dasurus hallacatus.

Q. Just a thought – why do quolls seem not to have entered into the national consciousness, or be regarded with the same affection as possum and glider species, koalas, wallabies, bilbies? Do we not like their carnivorous habits (and their habit of raiding our chook pens), or what? Do they need a PR makeover? Quirky quolls? Quaint quolls?

A. This species needs all the help they can get. Sadly, there are so many native species (plant, animal insect etc) that are facing the threat of extinction.

Q. Use of latrines – fascinating! Do any other Aussie mammals do? It’s a characteristic of badgers in the UK. Maybe there is a common reason?

A. Other dasyurids, including Tasmanian devils, will certainly use latrine sites. It assists with social communication in solitary species (especially those with large ranges that may not encounter each other often).

Q. We are on a reasonable size property next to a National Park in the southern end of the Mary Valley and own a number of IR cameras. Are there guidelines as to how and where to set up the IR cameras specifically to detect quolls?

A. A very recent publication examined this. Have a look at the following reference in Google Scholar (or email the lead author and he may be able to send a copy of the paper to you directly).

https://www.publish.csiro.au/AM/AM19017

Q. Where can people find out about any upcoming surveys so they can volunteer?

A. Please like our Quoll Seekers Network Facebook page (where we will publicise any upcoming surveys) or contact Quoll Seekers Network by email.

Q. Question for Matt and Sean. Has there been any thought into the re-introduction of STQ into places in SEQ?

A. (Matt) QSN is not aware of any discussions in Queensland around the re-introduction of spotted-tailed quoll. This would be a very complex undertaking in both a logistic and funding sense. We cannot see any level of government (local, state or federal) funding such an initiative.

(Sean) As Matt mentioned, a reintroduction program could only be considered where the drivers of decline had been identified for the specific area and addressed (e.g. reducing feral dog abundance). Otherwise, the enormous effort would likely be wasted.

Q. Any thoughts on the quoll captured at Coolum / Yandina area, such as connectivity, where it may have come from? What condition it was in? Thanks again

A. From what QSN understands the animal appeared to be in OK health. The location is not well connected to nearby bushland and we assume the animal has crossed roads and travelled through the urban environment in some capacity. Mount Coolum National Park and the Coolum Creek Conservation Park are nearby, however, and it is certainly feasible that the animal may travel within these reserves.

Q. Great presentation Matt and Sean. Question – will Sean’s UQ work be able to extend to the Sunshine Coast? especially with the recent sighting and the need to understand what is happening with spotted-tailed quolls here? Combined with Quoll Seekers findings in 2021?  

A. Yes, we will be looking at expanding surveys into the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area in the new year, given the recent sightings.

Q. How can we get involved with the research on the Sunshine Coast?

A. Subscribe to our free my.Wildlife e-bulletin for the latest project updates. You can also like our Quoll Seekers Network Facebook page (where we will publicise any upcoming quoll surveys, research and events).

Q. Do quolls eat the entire animal or are they like foxes and leave the intestine? I ask because I have released a care Wires brushtail possum that was eaten on the first night – the entrails were left under the release site. We assumed it was a fox but we have two documented spotted-tailed quoll sightings in the last year on our property.

A. It would likely depend on the size of the prey. Given the size of a brushtail possum, it is likely that a quoll would leave some of the less tasty bits uneaten (such as the intestines). Foxes, dogs and cats can do the same.

Q. Have you done any studies down at Mt Elliot Undullah through radio collar monitoring or other detection methods? B4C have used detection dogs but would love further studies to happen down there! 🙂

A. Wildlife Queensland / Quoll Seekers Network undertook detection dog surveys at Mt Elliott / Mt Perry funded through a Logan Council Envirogrant in 2019. Follow-up surveys were conducted by Wildlife Queensland / Quoll Seekers Network again in 2020 at Mt Elliott and Mt Perry, funded by the Logan Council once again. To my knowledge, spotted-tailed quolls have not been trapped in that area (which is necessary for telemetry based research). A trapping program might be an interesting undertaking sometime in the future.

Q. Most native animals are reportedly having a very high tolerance level to 1080 and survive – are quolls susceptible to 1080 (which would seem to be against the grain for most 4 legged Oz animals)?

A. Quolls have a much higher tolerance to 1080 than dogs, cats and foxes. One study examined the consumption of 1080 baits by wild quolls using an injected biomarker (which the researchers could detect in the whiskers of quolls that had eaten baits). They found some quolls survived bait ingestion and a small number were killed by them (but it may have been the result of them eating several baits).

Q. Is there any current research on quoll populations on the Gold Coast?

A. Not that we are aware of. But spotted-tailed quolls are historically known from national parks in the GC hinterland.

Q. Do the breeding timeframes outline apply nationwide or only in the north?

A. The timing of the breeding season differs a little with latitude.

Q. Could it be beneficial to collect scats from captive spotted-tailed quolls and setup artificial latrines in wild quoll habitats and set up camera traps to see if that could increase sightings?

A. This type of approach has been used before (good thinking!). Where researchers have access to quoll scats, they can be used as lures with motion sensor cameras. We have done this with mixed success.

Q. I’m interested in acoustic monitors too. Can they pick up low-frequency calls of quolls? There was a paper talking about the possibility of this with Northern? 

A. I’m not sure how effective acoustic monitors would be at detecting quoll vocalisations. With koalas (a highly vocal species) the detection distance is only 50-200m, so the animal needs to be quite close to be detected.

Q. Captive breeding and release of the chuditch into a secure, feral-free area has been successful so far. It is expensive, however, I think this would be a project worth pursuing for the spotted-tailed quoll, working in conjunction with wildlife exhibitors and demonstrators. How about fundraising for such a project?

A. An undertaking of this size is currently beyond the scope and ability of Quoll Seekers Network. A feral-free area of a size large enough to support a functional spotted-tailed quoll population would be 1000’s of hectares in size and contain a diverse range of habitats and native wildlife populations. Certainly, a sanctuary of this size and nature would be fantastic, however.

About the presenters

Matt Cecil, Projects Manager, Wildlife Queensland

Matt CecilMatt Cecil is the Projects Manager at Wildlife Queensland. His career in wildlife began in 2001 while holidaying in Tasmania: He visited a local wildlife park, desperate to see a Tasmanian devil, and landed a job at the park as an animal keeper, starting the very next week. Eight years, one zoology degree and several animal bite marks later, he returned to Brisbane to defrost.

Matt joined the Wildlife Queensland team in 2014 managing projects under the organisation’s focussed species networks; PlatypusWatch, Queensland Glider Network, Richmond Birdwing Conservation network and the Quoll Seekers Network.

Quoll Seekers Network is determined to document evidence of spotted-tailed quoll beyond their stronghold of the border ranges and granite belt. This is a native animal that carries the weight of extinction pressure from all corners – introduced species predatory pressure, introduced species competitive pressure, poisoning by introduced species, human persecution, road trauma and loss/modification of essential habitat. Quolls desperately need our help and the Quoll Seekers are determined to provide it.

Sean FitzGibbon PhD, Research Fellow, University of Queensland

Sean FitzgibbonSean FitzGibbon is a Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, where he completed his PhD in zoology in 2005. His research is aimed at enhancing the conservation of wildlife in fragmented landscapes, through improved ecological understanding. He has specialised in examining the behavioural ecology of many species, including quolls, using latest-technology devices such as proximity loggers, custom-made GPS units, sound recorders and micro-transmitters.

 

 

 

 

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Get involved

Join us:

Support us:

If you would like to make a financial contribution, you can support our work to protect and conserve quolls in the following ways:

  • Support the work of Quoll Seekers Network through our adopt-a-quoll program.
  • Buy some of our great Quoll Seekers merchandise, including quoll plush toys, posters, and info kit. Available online or contact us.

Publications and information

  • Saving the Spotted-Tailed Quoll: A Landholder’s Guide is produced by Wildlife Queensland’s Quoll Seekers Network and funded by the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action grant program. The guide aims to provide practical ideas that may contribute to saving this elusive species.

Quoll Seeker information resources:

Quoll species profiles:

Contact us

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Wildlife Queensland on 07 3844 0129 or email: communications@wildlife.org.au

 

Written by Wildlifeqld