The successful reintroduction of the western quolls has proved wrongs can be righted with the correct mix of science, funds and passion. The eve of winter saw the final release of 15 quolls in the red earth Ikara-Flinders Ranges to take the total number of quolls in the area past 150.
The SSAA donated $60,000 towards the program led by the Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species (FAME) and the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR).
The spotted species was wiped out by historic farming practices and the spread of feral cats, their main predator. There are far less cats in the area nowadays, thanks to the work of SSAA members and the South Australian State Government and the jointly operated 1990s Operation Bounceback. The program saw the shooting of tens of thousands of feral cats, goats, donkeys, rabbits and foxes in the area. More than 70,000 goats were removed alone.
Today, Operation Bounceback has led to the recovery of the environment and to the survival of other endangered species including the yellow-footed rock-wallaby and brush-tailed possum. The reintroduction of a locally extinct species has already shown to benefit the environment as the sharp-toothed quolls feast on baby rabbits. The welfare of the quolls will continue to be monitored in the coming years, while key stakeholders including the SSAA will maintain their work in keeping cat numbers and other non-native species down.
Perhaps it is only hunters and outdoorsmen and women who truly understand that hunting and conservation go together hand in glove, but with our public support of the Ikara-Flinders Ranges ecosystem, we hope we have shown members of the public what values the SSAA and its members stand for: environmental balance, ethical hunting and community.
Western quoll fact file
- The reintroduction of the western quoll to the Ikara-Flinders Ranges will need almost $2 million to be fundraised.
- The quolls have already helped to reduce the number of ferals in the area as they eat baby rabbits.
- The SSAA is one of the key donors of the program led by the Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species (FAME) and the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR).
- The quolls are a totem within the Adnyamathanha people’s Dreamtime. Some believe they are bad luck. The white line and dots on their fur are considered signs of where they were beaten and speared. In fact, they play an essential part in the natural flora and fauna balance.
- Quolls generally only live for three years, but they can support six babies at a time annually.
- Cats are the main predator of the quoll. The Operation Bounceback shooting of a large number of cats and flora-destroying goats by SSAA members has led to the capability of the reintroduction of the quolls.