The quoll—it might sound like something out of Harry Potter, and that wouldn't be too far off. Because this small carnivorous marsupial recently pulled off a stunning feat that would impress even the boy wizard. After disappearing from Australian mainland 50 years ago, the species has recently reappeared and is now making a miraculous comeback.
The eastern quoll was once widespread in southeastern Australia, but by the 1960s, habitat loss, foxes and cats, disease, accidental poisoning and deliberate persecution by humans had wiped them out. Fortunately, though, the species could also be found on the island Tasmania.
Now scientists have realized the importance of the eastern quoll's effect on the southeastern Australian ecosystem and are giving the marsupial a second chance there.
ANU Professor Adrian Manning said in a press release: “Our aim is not just to establish a healthy and diverse population of eastern quolls but also undertake critical research to understand the best way to introduce the species to improve success in future reintroductions on the mainland.”
Because of their role in helping to regulate prey species, quolls are extremely important to the survival and function of ecosystems. But the marsupial wasn’t able to perform its traditional duty in Australia for a long time.
Now, the animals can start building up their numbers again. And to monitor their progress, ANU scientists fitted each recently released with a radio-tracking collar to monitor them and make sure they survive and flourish.
“This is a long-term project,” Professor Manning said. “To be at the stage where we release quolls straight into the wild is rewarding for everyone involved because we are not only building on our science, but also leaving a legacy that can have an impact throughout Australia.”
Watch the video below to see these cute marsupials the moment they’re released back into the wilds of southeastern Australia.
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