Have you ever heard of the spotted-tail quoll? This unique marsupial, the second-largest carnivorous marsupial after the Tasmanian devil, is now critically endangered in north Queensland. New research suggests that the population of spotted-tail quolls has halved from 500 to just 221 adult quolls in the past 25 years, and this blog post will explain why this is happening and what can be done to help.
The spotted-tail quoll is an impressive creature, weighing up to several kilograms for the adult males and 1.5kg for the females. They have unique spots that can be used to identify individuals, and they are capable of climbing trees to catch their prey. They play a key ecological role in the mountain regions they inhabit, being the top predator in the area.
Unfortunately, the population of spotted-tail quolls has dwindled to critically endangered levels. Scientists monitored populations of the north Queensland subspecies of the spotted-tail quoll, Dasyurus maculatus gracilis, and found that the population had halved from previous estimates. This has led to the subspecies being listed as critically endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
The researchers are not yet certain about what is driving the population decline. Poisoning from cane toads is one theory, but there is also a lot of fragmentation and traffic in north Queensland, which could be causing quolls to be hit by cars. Climate change could also be impacting the spotted-tail quoll, as it could be impacting their prey.
Another key concern is that the quolls are broken up into six small populations of 10-100 individuals, which could lead to inbreeding effects. This could have a devastating effect on the population, leading to quick declines.
It is clear that action needs to be taken to save the spotted-tail quoll from extinction. More research is needed to understand the causes of the population decline, and conservation efforts should be focused on protecting the quolls’ habitat and reducing the threats they face. It is up to us to ensure that this unique marsupial is not lost forever.