A SSAA-backed project is entering an exciting second stage with around 40 western quolls to be released in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges on May 6. SSAA National provided $60,000 to the worthwhile cause. The article ‘WA’s biggest carnivore heads interstate’, published in The West Australian on 1 May 2015, details more about the species and their relocation.
Up to 40 of WA's biggest endemic carnivore, the chuditch, are awaiting a move interstate.
The chuditches, also known as western quolls, are being prepared for relocation to South Australia's Flinders Ranges in a bid to re-establish the species that disappeared from the area more than 100 years ago.
The marsupials, which at maturity reach the size of a small cat, were once found across 70 per cent of Australia but have been reduced to the south-west of WA, where they are a threatened species.
The reintroduction project is being led by the SA Government and Foundation of Australia's Most Endangered Species in co-operation with the Department of Parks and Wildlife and Native Animal Rescue.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob, who approved the marsupials' relocation as part of the Chuditch Recovery Program, said the species' move was important for their survival. He said the success of last year's project, when 37 chuditches were released into their former habitat warranted this year's release.
“From all accounts, it's been very successful,” he said. “They did lose some to predators but they're telling me they've still got a very healthy population.”
Department of Parks and Wildlife principal zoologist Manda Page said the population in SA would improve after the second release.
“There are probably at least 50 or 60 there but another 40 will provide extra strength to that population and also improve their genetics,” Dr Page said.
The animals are due to fly out on Wednesday.
University of Adelaide PhD candidate Melissa Jensen, who will accompany the animals on their journey, said the 12-hour flight to SA – with two fuel stops – would be eventful.
“It will be intense but a good day,” she said.