26 September 2023

Endangered quoll found spotting chickens

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The Natural Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) has caught a threatened spotted-tailed quoll snatching chickens in Armidale, the first confirmed sighting of the species in 17 years.

Saving our Species Officer at NPWS, Adam Fawcett said Spotted-tailed Quolls were listed as a vulnerable species in NSW.

“A local resident between Mt Duval and the Devils Pinch made the surprising find after setting up a camera to catch what he thought would be a feral cat,” Mr Fawcett said.

“Chickens had been lost regularly in over a few weeks, so he put out an infra-red motion sensor camera to see how the animal was getting into the chicken pen and, to his surprise, captured images of a spotted-tailed quoll,” he said.

“The resident wasn’t concerned with the presence of the quoll – a simple plugging of the hole in his netting stopped the quoll raiding the chook pens.”

Mr Fawcett said Spotted-tailed Quolls were the largest native marsupial predator in NSW and while there were scattered historic records in the area north of Armidale, this was the first confirmed record since 2003.

“This is an especially important find given the severe recent drought and its impact on vegetation,” he said.

Mr Fawcett said one of the biggest threats to the animals was being shot or poisoned in response to attacks on domestic chickens and aviaries.

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