Dasyurid health (Tasmanian Devils, Spotted-tail Quolls and Eastern Quolls)

Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment

Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 4th August 2020.


Applicant: Murdoch University


Species/Taxon: Dasyurus maculatus- spotted tailed quoll, Dasyurus viverrinus – Eastern quoll, Sarcophylus harrisii – Tasmanian devil


Location: Various locations, including private land, crown land and reserves, within the following areas: (a) a corridor from Dial Range through to South Riana and Gunns Plains, (b) acorridor inland from and including Table Cape at Wynyard, and (c) Woolnorth in the far northwest of Tasmania. 


Title of research: Development of a framework for the assessment of the health of wild dasyurid populations.


Aim of project: This project’s definitive goal is to develop a comprehensive framework to assess the health of wild spotted tailed quoll, Eastern quoll and Tasmanian devil populations. To achieve this, the following goals will be met in relation to populations of wild dasyurids in Tasmania: (1) measurement and assessment of a wide range of individual health/disease parameters; (2) collection of demographic data ; (3) assessment of genetic diversity; (4) use of remote microchip readers at baited stations, to investigate longevity and long-term movements;(5) investigation of mortality & morbidity associated with various conditions affecting wild dasyurids.


Justification: There are a range of changes that known to occur during population declines. These include changes to demographic factors such as age/sex structure and geographic distribution, as well as genetic diversity and disease prevalence.  Our population health assessment framework aims to be a structured way of looking at a broad range of population characteristics concurrently, and may improve the sensitivity of population status monitoring.  While changes in demographics, health and genomic characteristics can each be an effect of population declines, they can also be contributors to population declines.  They are likely to be happening simultaneously, and interacting with each other, in many if not all declining populations.  The interactions are likely to be complex and, we believe, are not well addressed in the literature.  Without investigations into all of these areas at the same time, understanding of the processes involved in population declines may be less complete than they could be; and could lead to inefficient or ineffective conservation efforts.  The bigger the bank of population health assessments that can be built up, in both impacted and apparently stable populations, the more reliable the interpretation of these assessments will be. The work of this project will follow and parallel successful health and conservation work completed in one species, and similar work about to start in two other species, to allow better interpretation of results and improved conservation management outcomes.  A range of habitat types will be selected for fieldwork, which may require some fieldwork in reserves.


Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved:         * indicates bycatch species

Dasyurus maculatus- spotted tailed quoll (33)        

Dasyurus viverrinus – Eastern quoll  (33)        

Sarcophylus harrisii – Tasmanian devil (33)        

*Trichosurus vulpecula – brush tailed possum (1)

*Felis domestica – feral cat (2)

*Corvus tasmanicus – forest raven (1)


Activities undertaken and methods: Animals will be captured using baited PVC pipe traps.  Captured quolls/devils will be examined under isofluorane anaesthesia.  Body measurements will be taken.  The following samples will be taken for laboratory testing: blood, skin notch from an ear, rectal swab, urine, external parasites, as well as punch biopsies, fine needle aspirates, biopsies and swabs from skin lesions. Quolls/devils will be individually identified with a microchip and release at the site of their capture after being held for no more than 4 hours.  All individuals of bycatch species will be released immediately.  Remote microchip readers will be used at baited stations to monitor the movements and survivorship of microchipped dasyurids.


Fate of animals: All animals will be released at the site of their capture


Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): There is likely to be no impact on species involved; no individuals will be removed from their natural environment and all individuals will be released at the site of their capture.


Scientific Research Permits
Natural and Cultural Heritage
Level 8, 59 Collins Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Email: Scientific.Permits@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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