Scat hints at presence of spotted-tailed quoll colony in Victoria for the first time in 30 years

The answers are in the poop.
By Australian Geographic April 29, 2019 Reading Time: 2 Minutes

SCATS BELONGING to the spotted-tailed quoll have been located in Kinglake National Park in Victoria for the first time in 30 years.

The spotted-tailed quoll is listed as endangered in the state of Victoria. The only known breeding populations are located in the the Upper Snowy catchment area.

Park officials say the upper Snowy breeding population is an extension of the Byadbo Wilderness in Kosciuszko, and are considered to be a part of New South Wale populations.

These most recent scats were confirmed by scatologist Barbara Triggs from grooming hairs found within the scat.

“We’ve had lots of community members saying they’ve seen or heard them, but our last legitimate quoll sighting – and by that, I mean recorded as a reliable scientific sighting – was in the 80s,” says Victoria Parks Ranger Tony Fitzgerald.

The scat found last September. (Image credit: Alberto Vale WildCAM Australia ®)

Camera traps set up in the area are yet to capture any images of the quolls, despite that they are known to readily investigate lures.

What’s exciting about these scat findings, according to researchers, is the timing. The scats were discovered in September of last year, outside of the April-July breeding window.

During the April-July breeding window this time, it’s common to find lone male spotted-tailed quolls, who can travel long distances in search of mates.

Finding scats outside of this window has given the researchers a “glimmer of hope” that it may be evidence of a colony, rather than just a lone male.

That said, they haven’t entirely dismissed the chance that these are, in fact, from a lone male spotted-tailed quoll.

They hope, however, that there could be a population “just hanging on”.

You can report any signs of quolls in Victoria to the AQC at quolls.org.au or Parks Victoria at info@parks.vic.gov.au