Largest ever: 50 eastern quolls released back into the wild on mainland Australia

By AG STAFF 24 May 2022
Reading Time: 2 Minutes Print this page
Conservation organisation Aussie Ark has returned 50 endangered eastern quolls to a protected, wild sanctuary in the Barrington Tops, NSW.

The quolls have been returned in preparation for this year’s breeding season, in the hope that the quolls will go on to breed with an existing population of the endangered species released to the sanctuary. The organisation is confident that this year’s baby boom will be historic. 

This release is the second undertaken by the organisation, but is hugely significant because of the sheer number that were released. The 50 quolls are the result of years of work to build the insurance population of the species.

The quolls are part of the organisation’s eastern quoll breeding program, and in turn part of the larger Tasmanian Quoll Conservation Program, which has successfully bred this vulnerable species in the Barrington Tops and now holds over 150 individuals, a number that grows with every breeding season. 

Dean Reid with one of the soon-to-be-released eastern quolls. Image credit: Aussie Ark

“Our goal has always been to bolster the eastern quoll species’ population, re-wild the Barrington Tops and stop their extinction,” says Dean Reid, Operations Manager of Aussie Ark. “The release of these 50 individuals is another step in this plan.

“We have released these quolls at the perfect time for them to find mates, meaning we should be able to get back out here in a couple of months and confirm breeding and the presence of joeys.” 

The Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary has been managed by Aussie Ark to remove introduced feral foxes and cats, which are the number one killers of native wildlife in Australia. The sanctuary also undergoes intense fire- and weed-management activities, creating a pristine habitat for species, such as quolls, to survive, thrive and breed effectively. 

Eastern quoll in its new habitat. Image credit: Aussie Ark