Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment
Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 20 November.
Applicant: Tasmanian Land Conservancy
Species/Taxon: eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus). Non-target species which may also be affected include Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), feral cat (Felis catus), common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and forest raven (Corvus tasmanicus).
Location: Silver Plains, Interlaken (private land)
Title of research: Eastern Quoll translocation (Silver Plains)
Aim of project: This is a pilot study, which aims to determine whether it is feasible to use releases of captive-bred eastern quolls to bolster wild eastern quoll populations in Tasmania. The main questions which we aim to answer are:
- Individual survival: how many of the released animals survive and reproduce? What are the major causes of mortality?
- Genetic impacts: does the release have any impact on the genetic structure of the local population?
- Population size impacts: does the release have any effect on abundance of eastern quolls at the release site after the following breeding season?
The eastern quoll was extinct on the mainland, and in Tasmania experienced declines of up to 50% between 2000 – 2009. It has been successfully translocated into predator-proof sanctuaries, and recently unfenced areas, on the mainland, but no translocations have been attempted in Tasmania.
The project will provide valuable information on the feasibility of such releases to help reverse Tasmanian population declines.Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved:
Approximately 20 animals will be released and tracked. It is difficult to predict the number of species will be affected by trapping surveys, which will involve up to four 10-day sessions with up to 80 traps, spaced over a year.Activities undertaken and methods:
This project will involve:
Fate of animals:
- Pre-release health checks
- Supplementary feeding
- live trapping
- genetic sampling
- camera surveys
- telemetry, using tail-mounted VHF units (approx. 6 weeks)
Animals will be released into the wild.Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch):
The only previous translocation of eastern quolls into a natural (unfenced) area found very high (80%) mortality rates, however many of these deaths were attributed to predation by foxes and unfamiliar predators, as well as road strike. These threats are either not present or are minimised by the remote location of the release site, so we expect mortality rates to be much lower. As with any translocation, there is still an increased risk of death compared to natural levels as animals navigate an unfamiliar environment.
Trapped eastern quolls, plus any bycatch devils and quolls, will be handled for a maximum of 10 minutes, and animals will be released at point of capture. Other bycatch species will be released immediately without handling.