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Tasmania Quoll Farm

Tasmania Quoll Farm

22nd February 2021
By: Olivia - F&F

QUOLL FARM

On an abandoned farm in a little corner of Tasmania, there lives a charismatic family of Eastern quolls. Simon Plowright — a naturalist and filmmaker — spent a whole year documenting the lives of this endangered species to produce Quoll Farm. His extraordinary footage gives us a glimpse into the lives of these adorable, but threatened marsupials. 

So, how can we save quolls from extinction? Let's learn a little bit about them first. 

What are Quolls, and where do they live?

Quolls — not to be mistaken for Quokkas — are tree-climbing, den-dwelling marsupials. They have black/brown fur, long tails, sharp teeth, pink noses, and distinctive white spots. Quolls range from 1kg-5kg and are roughly the size of a domestic cat. Quolls are mostly nocturnal. They sleep during the day in underground burrows and emerge at night to hunt for spiders, cockroaches, grasshoppers — and larger prey, like mice, rats and rabbits. 

This endearing snippet from Quoll Farm shows the eastern quoll’s nightly hunting routine, including the arrival of some unexpected guests!

There are four quoll species in Australia: the northern, spotted-tailed, eastern and western quolls. Since 1770, all four quoll species have dramatically declined in numbers. 

Why are Eastern Quolls almost extinct?

Eastern quolls, the subject of Plowright’s documentary, once thrived in mainland Australia for millions of years. Sadly, they’ve been extinct on mainland Australia for over 50 years and can only be found in Tasmania. The primary causes of their mainland extinction are attributed to invasive predators (feral cats, foxes, dogs) habitat loss or degradation, human impacts (shooting, car accidents, poisoning and traps) and the impacts of climate change

Sadly, half of Tasmania’s quoll population has disappeared in the last 10 years, and there are now approximately 10,000 eastern quolls left in the wild. The once-common marsupial is struggling to repopulate, but it’s not too late to save the unsung Aussie icon. 

Quoll Farm Documentary 

To produce Quoll Farm, Simon Plowright spent a year living and filming on an abandoned farm in Tasmania. Yes, you read that right — an entire year! 

The 55-minute documentary, which aired on ABC on February 14th (7.40pm), took us inside the lives of these fascinating marsupials. The never-before-seen footage shows us the eastern quolls foraging, breeding, and rearing joeys in their underground dens. Plowright and his fellow producer, Nick Hayward, document the behaviour of the eastern quolls and identify individual quolls, giving them adorable names like Clover and Sasha. 

These chirpy, charismatic marsupials face many invasive predators — capturing the reality of these dangers was important to Plowright. In an article for The Sydney Morning Herald by Craig Mathieson, Plowright says he didn’t want to paint an unrealistic picture of what goes on out there.

More from Simon Plowright, Quoll Farm Filmmaker 

"We wanted this film to be warm, but not completely fuzzy. When I talk in the film about young quolls dispersing, the fact the quolls are disappearing on us really did concern me,” Plowright says. 

Plowright also says the filming of Quoll Farm was 100% genuine — nothing was staged or manipulated. “I believe in never touching the wildlife. Leave them alone and the animal will trust you at some point. If you let them come to you, you’ll be rewarded by wonderful experiences,” Plowright said to SMH. 

Unfortunately, quolls tend to have a bad reputation with farmers — some stating that “the only good quoll is a dead quoll”. 

How can we help Eastern Quolls to recover?

Some outstanding conservation work is being done to protect and repopulate eastern quolls.

As a part of the Tasmanian Quoll Conservation Program (TQCP), Aussie Ark is working to bring eastern quolls back to mainland Australia. 

Late last year, Aussie Ark released 28 Eastern quolls into the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary, marking their return a historic moment in the conservation world! If you’d like support this amazing work, feel free to donate to Aussie Ark here.

Bush Heritage Australia is also working hard to preserve eastern quoll habitats by maintaining native vegetation, undertaking fuel reduction burns in cooler months, and enforcing feral predator management. 

Take a look at the amazing work that these wildlife researchers do in this video! 

 

Feel free to donate to Bush Heritage Australia to support this vital conservation work. 

Here at Flora & Fauna, we’re passionate about protecting and conserving Aussie wildlife. By supporting these amazing wildlife conservation initiatives — and the people who dedicate their lives to prevent the extinction of Aussie species — we can look forward to a future where quolls can live and flourish on Australia’s mainland. 

Don’t forget to catch Quoll Farm on ABC iview to learn more about this fascinating species! 

 

If you liked this blog, check out some more wildlife Eco News on The Eco Hub:

Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia 

The Rise of Humpback Whales 

Endangered Hawksbill Turtle Returns to Australia

Where Have All The Christmas Beetles Gone? 

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