The Endangered Northern Quoll might be one of the cutest threatened native Australian species there is. This small mammal with big eyes and long whiskers recently experienced a devastating population crash. Why?
We think invasive and introduced species are to blame…Particularly cats and feral herbivores like cattle pigs and buffalo. – Anthony Simms, senior project officer focusing on threatened species in Kakadu National Park
The Northern Quoll has become prey for feral cats on Astell Island. The quoll have also turned to invasive cane toads as a food source, but these poisonous amphibians are lethal to them. Conservationists captured the Northern Quolls and trained them to avoid feral cats and cane toads. They were re-released in Kakadu National Park and so far, they are still alive and well.
Kakadu ranger Rachel Martin, scientist Chris Jolly and and PHD student Ella Kelly before the release of the nine quolls. Photograph: Commonwealth of Australia
But training the quolls to avoid predators is not the end to protecting this species. These destructive invasive species must be removed altogether, no matter how great the challenge.
We can’t afford to be defeatist. If we say we’ll never get rid of cane toads or feral cats then we won’t…But while we are battling them we can help our animals adapt and level up the playing field. – Gregory Andrews, Federal Threatened Species Commissioner
Read the full article at The Guardian
Feature image: Jonathan Webb
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