We have recently become fans of modern technology‘s ability to leverage charismatic images for conservation’s purposes with creatures large and small. It is not as simple as the scientific “seeing is believing;” more “seeing is caring.” In this case, if we did not have the title and subtitle of the article, we would have little clue what we were looking at:
Tiger quoll seen in Grampians – in first sighting in wilderness area since 1872
Remote camera set up to spy on wallabies sends back images of endangered marsupial
A tiger quoll has been spotted in the Grampians national park in Victoria – 141 years after the last confirmed sighting in the area. The carnivorous marsupial was long thought to be extinct in the vast wilderness area in western Victoria. The first confirmed sighting in 1872 was also the last, with the animal killed in the waters of the Glenelg river.
But Parks Victoria has revealed that a remote camera in the national park, set up to spy on brush-tailed rock wallabies, captured images of a live tiger quoll on 25 September.
The surprise sighting is a rare piece of good news about the native mammal, which is listed as endangered across south-east Australia. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers the species “near threatened”.
There are an estimated 20,000 remaining tiger quolls, also known as the spotted-tailed quoll, in Australia. Although only the Tasmanian devil rivals the pugnacious species in the marsupial family in terms of size and aggression, numbers have dwindled owing to habitat loss and competition with foxes and feral cats.
Ben Holmes, manager of Parks Victoria’s fox control program, said: “I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes when the photos were sent through from our field crew. There is no mistaking the spotted body colour, which can only be a quoll.”