Upper Hunter Country

Upper Hunter Country
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 14:42

Extinct on the mainland, Eastern quoll, bred at Devil Ark for the first time in the region in over 100 years

Eastern Quoll Eastern Quoll Devil Ark and Tim Faulkner

Not for profit organisation Devil Ark, an insurance population breeding program to help save the Tasmanian devil is celebrating with the announcement of the first Eastern quoll joeys born at the Barrington Tops breeding facility. In 2016 Devil Ark opened its doors to another endangered species, the Eastern quoll, with assistance by Australian Geographic to help the species come back from the brink of extinction. Today Devil Ark staff conducted pouch check on 2 of the female quolls and confirmed 12 joeys. This number is expected to climb to 30 with final pouch checks of the remaining females to be completed in the coming weeks.

Devil Ark’s plan is to secure the species with an insurance population, then return them to wild when the species is at stable numbers. Currently classified as endangered, the eastern quoll is a medium-sized carnivorous marsupial native to Australia. Once found throughout Australia, they have now been declared extinct on the mainland due to introduced feral predators and now only exist and thrive in Tasmania. The successful breeding at Devil Ark sees the species back in one of its initial habitats for the first time since the mainland extinction.

Devil Ark president, Tim Faulkner said about today’s events “The health check was great – the joeys are in perfect condition and all the mums are doing great as well. One can’t describe the feeling you get when you breed an animal in an area it is now extinct in. It really gives you hope for the future of the species.”

Commenting on the success of Devil Ark, Faulkner goes on to explain “As a registered charity, Devil Ark largely relies on external support from project partners like Australian Geographic and the general public to maintain the facility for both the Eastern quolls and Tasmanian devils. I am proud to say, in the quolls case, this significant milestone would not have been possible without Australian Geographic.”

“Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world and we don’t want to see these species go the same way as the infamous Tasmanian tiger. Tasmanian devil populations have reduced by 90% due to disease, now scientists are seeing the same trend of population decline happening to Eastern quolls in their last remaining stronghold, Tasmania. This is because devils control the feral animals, and without the devils, feral animals are becoming more prominent. Our facilities are committed to Australian Wildlife and are well on the way to restabilising quoll numbers for reintroduction to the wild.”

The Eastern quoll plays an important role as an ecosystem engineer, scavenging on carrion on the forest floor. They are also a natural predator maintaining balance in the bush. Breeding occurs in early winter and after a gestation period of 21 days, females give birth to up to 30 young. However, the pouch contains only six teats, limiting survival to first young which can attach themselves to these teats.

Devil Ark’s Social handles Facebook: @TassieDevilArk / Twitter: @devil_ark / Instagram @devil_ark

For further information:

Amanda Woodbine

Marketing Manager Devil Ark & Australian Reptile Park

Phone: (02) 4340 8611

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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