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Draft revised Tiger Quoll Action Statement

Flora and Fauna Guarantee
Action Statement

Spot-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)

Life History and Ecology
Conservation Status
Decline and Threats
Existing Conservation Measures
Conservation Objectives
Management Actions
Prepared by


The Spot-tailed Quoll (or Spotted-tailed Quoll or Tiger Quoll, Dasyurus maculatus) is the largest marsupial carnivore on mainland Australia. Males have a head and body length of 380-760 mm, a tail length of 370-550 mm and weigh up to 7 kg (average 3 kg), while females have a head and body of 350-450 mm, a tail length of 340-420 mm and weigh up to 4 kg (average 2 kg). Fur colour ranges from light to very dark brown, with conspicuous white spots over the body and tail. No other quoll species in Australia has a spotted tail. The Spot-tailed Quoll has a relatively large head with a wide jaw gape and large carnivorous dentition, including long, curved canine teeth (Edgar and Belcher 1995).



The Spot-tailed Quoll occurs in eastern Australia, including Tasmania. There are two described subspecies: D. maculatus gracilis, which is confined to northern Queensland; and D. maculatus maculatus, which occurs in south-eastern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania (Edgar and Belcher 1995). Recent molecular analysis (Firestone et al. 1999) indicates that the Tasmanian population is genetically quite distinct from mainland populations, suggesting that it should be regarded as a separate subspecies.


The Spot-tailed Quoll appears to have had a broad distribution in Victoria, excluding the Mallee, Wimmera, Northern Plains and Alpine areas, at altitudes ranging from sea level to at least 1100 m (NRE records; Mansergh 1995). Due to declines in the range and abundance since European settlement, the Spot-tailed Quoll now survives in several discrete areas, including some isolated, highly fragmented populations. Possible current centres of distribution include:

  • Eastern Victoria, from the foothills and ranges north and east of Melbourne through to the NSW border (and likely to be contiguous with NSW populations adjacent to the NSW-Vic border), including north-eastern Victoria and lowland East Gippsland. Recent records verify the existence of the Spot-tailed Quoll in at least some locations within this large area.
  • Otway Ranges. Recent records verify the existence of Spot-tailed Quolls in the area.
  • South-western Victoria, centred on Mt Eccles National Park, but also possibly including other forested land in the region. The most recent confirmed record is from Mt Eccles National Park in October 2000.
  • South Gippsland. A record from the Strezlecki Ranges in 2000 is the most recent record.
  • Macedon Ranges. There are two records of Spot-tailed Quolls from the Macedon Ranges in 1991.
  • North-western Victoria. The only record from this area is in 1991.

There is the possibility that populations of Quolls still exist in areas poorly surveyed or unsurveyed, such as in the Central Highlands or north-eastern Victoria. Even in areas reasonably well surveyed, such as parts of East Gippsland, techniques used in general fauna surveys may have overlooked or not detected Quolls (Andrew Murray NRE pers. comm.). The species is apparent absent from Wilsons Promontory, an area of approximately 50,000 ha and reserved as a national park since 1898, although there are two unconfirmed sight records, dating from 1908 and the 1960s (NRE Wildlife Atlas database).

Within Victoria, the Spot-tailed Quoll is now confined largely to public land, mostly in State forest, parks and conservation reserves.


The Spot-tailed Quoll is generally a species of forested habitats, particularly wet sclerophyll forest, but also occurs in lowland forest, dry foothill forest, rainforest, River Red Gum forest, sub-alpine woodland and dry ‘rainshadow’ forest such as in the Snowy River valley in East Gippsland (Mansergh and Belcher 1992; Edgar and Belcher 1995; Belcher 2000b). As males can move over large distances, animals can occasionally be encountered in ‘non-typical’ habitats including heathland, coastal dunes, dry open woodland and even outer urban residential areas bordering on forested land.

The structural complexity of the habitat appears to be particularly important, with the species favouring areas with a dense overstorey and understorey and with abundant rocks, large, hollow-bearing trees, rocky escarpments and/or fallen logs for den sites. Areas with a high density of mammal prey items are also utilised. Within these areas, Spot-tailed Quolls preferentially occupy drainage lines, gullies, flats and escarpments, but avoid mid-slopes, and only use saddles to cross between catchments (Belcher 2000b). Prey densities and den site availability appear to be key features influencing habitat utilisation (Belcher 2000b).

Life History and Ecology

Spot-tailed Quolls are generally solitary animals (Belcher 1994). They occur at low densities (Jones and Rose 1996), and occupy very large home ranges, with males requiring larger areas than females - in eastern Victoria, males occupy home ranges in the order of 2000-2200 ha and females 700-850 ha (Belcher 2000b). Size of home range is related to habitat quality, particularly the availability of den sites and the density of mammal prey items (Belcher 2000b). The home range of a male Spot-tailed Quoll may cover the territories of several females.

Spot-tailed Quolls are carnivorous, feeding mainly on mammals including rodents, possums, small dasyurids, bandicoots and rabbits. Reptiles, birds and invertebrates are also eaten, and the carcasses of larger mammals such as wombats and wallabies may be scavenged (Belcher 1995, 1997, 2000b). Quolls will also prey upon domestic poultry. Spot-tailed Quolls are generally nocturnal or crepuscular, although they will hunt during the day, especially for possums in tree hollows, where they are much easier to catch than in the tree canopy at night. The species is terrestrial and arboreal, and is an adept climber, hunting for prey in tree hollows and the canopy. Spot-tailed Quolls shelter and rear young in dens, and individual animals use a number of dens, perhaps 15 or more, and may use a different den each night. Den sites include caves, rock crevices, hollow logs, tree hollows, rabbit and small wombat burrows (Belcher 2000b).

The Spot-tailed Quoll has a relatively short life-span for an animal of its size, with a maximum of 5-6 years observed in captivity (Belcher 2000b), and probably only 3-4 years in the wild. Maximum weight is attained at about three years of age (Belcher 2000b). Mating occurs during winter, with an average litter size of five, born after a gestation period of about three weeks. The young become independent at weaning, at about five months of age, and as few as one or two young per female may be weaned (Fleay 1940). Female Spot-tailed Quolls generally do not breed until two years of age, and the majority of females breed only every second year (Belcher 2000b). This means that at least some females may only breed once or twice during their lives, and the overall reproductive output and recruitment to the adult population is probably quite low. Thus, populations may have a very poor ability to recover from a local or regional decline in numbers.

Spot-tailed Quoll scats have a strong and distinctive odour, and are deposited in communal defecation sites, called ‘latrines’, often in exposed areas like rock ledges. It is believed that these latrine sites are an important means of communication, indicating territory and perhaps reproductive status (Belcher 1994; Kruuk and Jarman 1995).

No population or density estimates are available for Spot-tailed Quolls in Victoria. In Tasmania, Spot-tailed Quoll density ranged from an estimated 1 per 300 ha to 1 per 1700 ha, with an average of 1 per 400 ha, and the total population was estimated at about 3600 animals in 1.25 million ha of habitat (Jones and Rose 1996). This figure, although preliminary, does serve to illustrate two points: 1) the relatively low density at which Spot-tailed Quolls exist, even in ‘optimal’ habitat, and 2) the large areas required for Spot-tailed Quoll conservation.

Although the Spot-tailed Quoll is rarely seen, in some instances it can be trapped reasonably readily (Andrew Murray, NRE, pers. comm.), and can become habituated to the presence of humans, such as around camping sites and rubbish dumps (Jones and Rose 1996; Belcher 2000b). However, in some targeted surveys in Victoria in areas known to be inhabited by Spot-tailed Quolls, only very low detection rates were achieved (Belcher 2000b), including only three detections in over 4000 trap nights at several sites in the Otway Ranges (Belcher 2000a). Finding latrine sites is quite difficult, and locating den sites is virtually impossible (Belcher 2000b), unless animals have been captured and fitted with radio-transmitters.

Conservation Status

The Spot-tailed Quoll is considered Endangered in Victoria (NRE 2000) and is listed as Threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. The south-eastern subspecies (D. m. maculatus) is considered Vulnerable nationally and the northern subspecies (D. m. maculatus) is considered Endangered nationally (Maxwell et al. 1996; ANZECC 2000).

Decline and Threats

There is a recorded historical decline of the Spot-tailed Quoll from about 50% of its former range in Victoria (Mansergh 1984; Mansergh and Belcher 1992), due to clearing and fragmentation of habitat, direct or indirect persecution including poisoning and trapping, and disease. Within the remaining habitat, Spot-tailed Quolls are suspected to be declining in at least some, if not most, of their current range. The evidence for this decline includes substantially reduced reporting rates in the last 30 years, including a seven-fold decline in reporting rates from the Otway Ranges, and extremely low detection rates from targeted surveys in some areas (eg. Otway Ranges) (Belcher 2000b).

Within Victoria, Spot-tailed Quolls are considered relatively common only in the upper Snowy River-Tingaringy area of East Gippsland (NRE Wildlife Atlas; Andrew Murray NRE pers. comm.) The Otway Ranges was once considered a stronghold for the species, but recent surveys have detected very few animals, indicating the population is alarmingly small. In south-western Victoria, much of the remaining forested habitat is highly fragmented, and probably only small numbers of Quolls survive in the region. Only limited, isolated habitat is available for Quolls in the Strezlecki Ranges, and any surviving population is likely to be critically small and isolated. An intensive survey in January 2001 in the area of the 2000 record failed to locate any animals (Andrew Murray NRE pers. comm.). It is not known if any Quolls survive in north-western Victoria or the Macedon Ranges.

The species is thought to be facing threats from several sources, including primary and secondary poisoning from wild dog/dingo, fox and perhaps rabbit control programs, competition from dogs, foxes and cats, predation of juvenile quolls by dogs and foxes, and timber harvesting and associated activities (Mansergh and Belcher 1992; Edgar and Belcher 1995; Jones and Rose 1996; Maxwell et al. 1996; Belcher 1998, 2000a, b). Spot-tailed Quoll populations may also be still experiencing the long-term effects of previous habitat fragmentation and clearing for agriculture and plantations.

At least some populations of Spot-tailed Quoll are likely to be so small and isolated that they may be facing general extinction processes affecting all small populations, such as the effects of stochastic events (eg. fire, drought, fluctuating prey abundance, disease) and inbreeding depression, greatly increasing their vulnerability to extinction.

In addition to the Spot-tailed Quoll, there are another three species of quolls occurring in Australia – Western Quoll Dasyurus geoffroii, Eastern Quoll Dasyurus viverrinus and Northern Quoll Dasyurus hallucatus. All four quoll species have declined substantially in range and abundance since European settlement. The Western Quoll was once the most widespread species, occurring across 70% of Australia in all mainland States and the Northern Territory, but has disappeared from about 90% of its former range and is now confined to a small area in Western Australia (Serena and Soderquist 1995; Maxwell et al. 1996). The Eastern Quoll is extinct on mainland Australia but is still reasonably common in Tasmania (Godsell 1995; Maxwell et al. 1996). The Northern Quoll has declined in or disappeared from at least 50% of its former range in northern Australia (Braithwaite and Begg 1995; Maxwell et al. 1996). Both the Eastern and Western Quolls formerly occurred in Victoria but are now extinct there.

Poison Baiting Programs

Sodium monofluroacetate (1080) is toxic to mammals and is used widely in Australia to control a variety of pest mammals including European rabbits, wild dogs, dingos, foxes, feral pigs, possums and macropods. It is highly toxic to dogs and foxes but is relatively less toxic to native marsupial carnivores including the Spot-tailed Quoll (McIlroy 1981). For fox and dog control, several bait types and dose rates are used in Victoria. Commercially prepared ‘Foxoffä ’ baits contain 3 mg of 1080, while cooked meat baits prepared by NRE for fox control contain 3.3 mg of 1080, and predator baits used for wild dog control contain 4.5 mg of 1080 (registered product labels), although dose rates in baits prepared by NRE using manual injection of 1080 have the potential to vary somewhat (Ross Williamson NRE, pers. comm.). Baits are legally required to be buried to a minimum depth of 8 cm, with a recommended depth of 8 – 10 cm. Aerial baiting for wild dog control ceased in the 1960s in Victoria, and only buried baiting (in conjunction with trapping, snaring and barrier fencing) is currently employed.

The risk to Quolls from poison baiting programs depends upon several factors, including the amount of 1080 ingested, the size of the animal, and the palatability and accessibility of baits to Quolls. The higher tolerance of Spot-tailed Quolls to 1080 is offset by the smaller body size than dogs and foxes (McIlroy 1981), and a dose of 3-4.5 mg ingested from a single bait is potentially lethal to juvenile, many female and some male Quolls (Murray 1998; Belcher 2000b). A large male animal consuming two baits (ingesting 6-9 mg of 1080) within a short period is also potentially at risk.

Spot-tailed Quolls are carnivores and will readily consume fresh and cooked meat fox and dog baits and commercially prepared fox baits (studies cited in Murray 1995; Belcher 2000b). Dried meat baits may be less palatable to wild quolls than standard fresh or cooked meat baits (McIlroy 1992; Morris 1992; Belcher 2000b) but were readily consumed when offered to captive Spot-tailed Quolls (Murray 1998; Belcher 2000b). Spot-tailed Quolls will consume baits on the surface and will excavate and consume baits buried to at least 8 cm depth (Murray 1995, 1998; Belcher 2000b; Murray et al. 2000), but were less likely to excavate baits buried 10 cm or deeper (Murray 1999; Belcher 2000b). Although fox and dog baits are required to be buried to a minimum depth of 8 cm, Murray (undated) indicated that at least some baits laid for wild dogs in east Gippsland were buried ‘under a minimum’ of soil, which Quolls could readily excavate (Murray 1998). Density of bait laying can vary from baits being laid only tens of metres apart to hundreds of meters apart or further (Ross Williamson NRE, pers. comm.). As Quolls (particularly males) forage over very large areas, laying baits close together increases the chance of an animal encountering and consuming several baits.

Are Spot-tailed Quolls at risk from current poison baiting programs in Victoria? There is circumstantial evidence of the loss of Spot-tailed Quolls coinciding with aerial baiting, hand and mound baiting for wild dogs in New South Wales, and buried baiting for foxes and baiting for rabbits in eastern Victoria (Belcher 2000b), and that these programs can have a significant impact on local Quoll populations. One large male Quoll captured in south-eastern NSW several days after a nearby area was aerially baited for dogs displayed symptoms of 1080 poisoning. It died soon after, and although an autopsy detected no obvious cause of death, subsequent tissue analysis found 1080 present (Belcher 2000b). Baits for wild dogs in NSW contain 6 mg of 1080 (Belcher 2000b), a higher dose rate than that used in Victoria. Male quolls are more likely to come into contact with poisoned baits than female quolls, because of the much larger areas over which males roam. The sublethal effects of 1080 on native marsupials are not known, but may include impaired cell function or organ damage (McIlroy 1981). Belcher (2000b) considered Spot-tailed Quolls to be susceptible to secondary poisoning from consuming poisoned rabbits killed using 1080 in rabbit control programs. However, an analysis using existing data on 1080 bait susceptibility and Quoll food intake by Fisher (2000), estimated a comparatively reduced risk of secondary poisoning than did Belcher (2000b).

McIlroy (1999) indicated that there is no clear answer to the question of susceptibility of Spot-tailed Quolls to 1080 poisoning. In several locations in NSW, Spot-tailed Quoll populations have apparently persisted in areas subjected to aerial baiting for many years. However, one population in southern NSW declined dramatically, coinciding with 1080 baiting for wild dogs (Belcher 2000b). The impact of baiting is still debated, especially when considering the benefits to Quolls from the reduction in fox and dog numbers versus the risk to Quolls being killed by poison baits. However, because of the limited reproductive ability of Spot-tailed Quolls, even the loss of a few animals (especially females) from poisoning is likely to be significant for small populations (Murray 1998). To date, the sparse nature of Spot-tailed Quoll populations in Victoria has made this type of information difficult to obtain.

Timber Harvesting

Spot-tailed Quolls appear to prefer mature forest (Belcher 2000b), unlogged forest or forest that is less disturbed from timber harvesting than intensively harvested forest (Catling et al. 1998, 2000). Clear-fell timber harvesting is thought to be a threat to quolls as it removes some of the structural complexity that the species requires, including the removal of hollow-bearing trees, fallen logs and the reduction of canopy cover and structural complexity of the vegetation (Belcher 2000b). It may also reduce populations of mammals that quolls depend upon as prey, by removing shelter and foraging strata (Lindenmayer 1994), as well as the death of prey species. In selectively logged forest (40-60% canopy cover retained after logging) in south-eastern NSW, Spot-tailed Quolls avoided forest that had been recently logged, but used logged forest that had grown sufficiently to provide ground cover and a dense overstorey, particularly those areas with many logs left lying on the ground after logging, providing abundant den sites (Belcher 2000b). The impact of logging seems to be related to the intensity of logging, the amount of unlogged forest remaining, and the amount of logs left on the ground (Belcher 2000b). Catling et al. (2000) found that populations of ground-dwelling mammals (including Spot-tailed Quolls) were more diverse and in greater abundance in north-eastern NSW forests, which were more complex and less disturbed from logging activities, than in south-eastern NSW forests, which were more intensively logged. Logging and forest management activities may also increase accessibility of the forest by foxes. Severe disturbance in logged forest in south-eastern NSW appeared to play some part in the distribution and abundance of foxes and the demise of medium-sized ground-dwelling mammals there (Catling & Burt 1995), while foxes were absent or far less abundant in less disturbed forest (Catling et al. 2000).

Predation and Competition

The impact of predation and competition from dogs, foxes and cats on the Spot-tailed Quoll is not known. Juvenile and female Quolls are at risk from predation by dogs and foxes. The diet of foxes, feral cats and wild dogs was found to overlap with Spot-tailed Quolls, indicating that competition for food resources may be occurring (Belcher 1995). In Western Australia, under project ‘Western Shield’ where foxes are controlled across large areas of the landscape (rather than small specific locations), populations of Western Quoll have improved significantly (Morris 1992). This information, coupled with the status of the Spot-tailed Quoll and Eastern Quoll in Tasmania, which is currently free of foxes, suggests that foxes could be a major factor in the decline of Spot-tailed Quolls in Victoria.

Impact of Clearing and Fragmentation

The impact of ongoing habitat clearing and fragmentation on Spot-tailed Quolls is not known. Historically, substantial areas of likely former habitat have been cleared, contributing to the species’ decline (Mansergh 1984). In recent decades, Spot-tailed Quolls apparently deserted sites that were cleared for plantations in the Otway Ranges (Belcher 2000b). Permanent loss and fragmentation of habitat is now likely to be an issue only on private land, where potentially suitable habitat may still exist in some regions, such as south-western Victoria and eastern Victoria, especially where potential habitat is adjacent to forested public land. Government policy restricting the clearing of native vegetation has been in operation for some time, and the shift to a ‘No Net Loss’ and ultimately a ‘Net Gain’ of native vegetation for Victoria (NRE 1997) is a useful tool for protecting potential habitat on private land.

Existing Conservation Measures

The Spot-tailed Quoll has been the subject of concern for some time, and a range of conservation initiatives has been instigated. A brief summary follows:

  • A national threat assessment was undertaken and a conservation program prepared in the Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes (Maxwell et al. 1996).
  • NRE has commissioned and supported research on Spot-tailed Quoll in Victoria and New South Wales, and a number of reports on its conservation and management have been produced (see References).
  • A "Southeast Forests Spotted-tailed Quoll Working Group", comprising representatives from forest and wildlife agencies in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Victoria, has been formed to coordinate conservation activities for the species in East Gippsland, southern NSW and the ACT.
  • Records of Spot-tailed Quolls in State Forest are protected where existing reserves are not adequate. In East Gippsland, Midlands Forest Management Areas and the Central Highlands Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) region, the species is protected by establishing a 500 ha Special Protection Zone (SPZ). In the North East, Gippsland and West Victoria RFA regions protection measures comprise a 500 ha SPZ and an adjacent Special Management Zone (SMZ). Within the SMZ (which is approximately 1000 ha) an additional 500 ha is maintained as suitable habitat for the species, so that approximately 1000 ha of suitable habitat is protected for each record.
  • Systematic surveys for Spot-tailed Quolls in the Otway Ranges during the development of the West Victoria RFA, and surveys in north-eastern Victoria, south-western Victoria and the Strezlecki Ranges have been undertaken or are underway.
  • The Threatened Species Network has had a major focus on the Spot-tailed Quoll in Victoria. It has held information and training days, and organised and supported community group surveys for the species in the Otway Ranges, Macedon Ranges, central Gippsland and south-western Victoria.
  • NRE has established a strategic fox control research initiative that includes ‘Project Deliverance’ (Murray 1999), an experimental fox control program in East Gippsland designed to determine the response of native mammals to fox control. A project to determine the risk of fox baiting to Spot-tailed Quolls will also be undertaken as part of this initiative.
  • Instigation of a project to develop strategies for flora and fauna conservation in forest management planning at the landscape level, to ensure adequate suitable habitat is available for forest-dependent species including the Spot-tailed Quoll.
  • NRE has conducted a review of its Wild Dog Control Program.

Despite these and other measures being initiated, their effectiveness in achieving Spot-tailed Quoll conservation in Victoria is not known. Indeed, Belcher (2000b) states that ‘the Tiger Quoll will become extinct in Victoria…in the short to medium term, if current management practices continue.’

Conservation Objectives

There is considerable community expectation that a successful conservation program will be developed for the Spot-tailed Quoll. The suspected current major threats including competition and predation from wild dogs and foxes, poison baiting programs for pest animals and timber harvesting are largely within the ambit and responsibility of NRE to control and manage. It is within this framework that a conservation program for the Spot-tailed Quoll needs to be developed.

There are three key issues to address in the short-term for conservation of the Spot-tailed Quoll:

  • Habitat Protection - to develop a system of managed public land areas within the total forest estate (parks and reserves, state forest) within which Spot-tailed Quoll habitat is provided and threats are controlled.
  • Threat Control - to determine the risk of pest animals and pest animal baiting programs to Spot-tailed Quolls and, if required, to refine baiting techniques to effectively control dogs and foxes while eliminating the danger to Spot-tailed Quolls.
  • Survey and Monitoring - to develop a program of monitoring and measuring Spot-tailed Quoll distribution, abundance and population trends. This is essential to determine the reaction of the species to the conservation measures proposed in this Action Statement.

Long-term Objective

To achieve a viable metapopulation of Spot-tailed Quoll in Victoria, comprising at least three discrete geographical sub-populations (eastern Victoria, Otway Ranges, south-western Victoria).

Objectives of this Action Statement

  • To establish and monitor two areas in Victoria (a location in eastern Victoria and in the Otway Ranges) where land management prescriptions and practices are supportive of Spot-tailed Quoll conservation, and threats are controlled.
  • To determine whether pest animals and pest animal baiting programs are threats to Spot-tailed Quoll conservation, and, if so, to implement measures to reduce the risk to Quolls.

Management Actions

  1. Identification and Protection of Habitat
  2. 1.1 Develop a predictive model of Spot-tailed Quoll habitat in Victoria, using information from studies in Victoria and elsewhere. Using a landscape approach, apply the predictive model to identify two habitat areas (in eastern Victoria and the Otway Ranges) within which Spot-tailed Quoll habitat is protected or provided and threats are controlled. These sites will form the basis of experimental studies to determine how Quolls respond to these conservation initiatives. Progressively apply the predictive habitat model across Victoria to identify a system of managed public land (parks, reserves, State forest) for Spot-tailed Quoll conservation, commencing with the existing reserve system. As part of this process, investigate the scope for an overlap with habitat protection for forest owls including Sooty Owl and Powerful Owl.
    Priority 1

    1.2 Until the predictive habitat-based model for Spot-tailed Quoll is developed and applied, in State forest establish 500 ha SPZ for all new confirmed records. A further 1000 ha will be maintained within a SMZ contiguous with the SPZ, of which 500 ha is maintained as suitable prey habitat at any point in time. Zoning may cover the site of the record (eg. den site, latrine site, feeding habitat), and nearby reserve areas may contribute or replace these zones where habitat is considered adequate. Quoll habitat requirements will be incorporated in SMZ management. The Spot-tailed Quoll conservation strategies established in existing forest management plans will be considered for inclusion in the development of the system of managed public land.
    Priority 1

    1.3 Facilitate the protection of potential Spot-tailed Quoll habitat on private land within existing mechanisms for protection of native vegetation (eg. zoning under local government planning schemes, development of Regional Management Plans by Catchment Management Authorities, voluntary conservation agreements - eg Land for Wildlife, Conservation Covenants).
    Priority 3

  3. Assessment of the Risk from Poison Baiting Programs
  4. 2.1 Determine the risk of 1080 ground baiting programs for canids to Spot-tailed Quolls. This project, to be based in the Tingaringy district in East Gippsland, will also provide information on home range use by quolls.
    Priority 2

    2.2 Further investigate risks to Spot-tailed Quolls from secondary poisoning in rabbit control programs.
    Priority 2

    2.3 Develop a Victorian Pest Animal Management Strategy that incorporates biodiversity conservation principles, including electronic database for recording and mapping bait stations and bait nights and other information on database to improve management of dog and fox control programs.
    Priority 2

    2.4 Undertake palatability studies of meat baits to wild dogs, including using dried meat baits that are apparently less palatable to Spot-tailed Quoll, and trials on bait depth and target uptake.
    Priority 2

    2.5 Trial a mechanical calibrated injector system to test for improved quality control and 1080 dose rates in baits for wild dog control.
    Priority 1

    2.6 Liaise with researchers on dog and fox baiting developments and refine baiting techniques to reduce risk to Spot-tailed Quoll as new information becomes available.
    Priority 3

    2.7 Hold information sessions and training days for NRE staff involved in wild dog and fox control, for use of revised baiting in and around Spot-tailed Quoll zones.
    Priority 3

  5. Control of Predators/Competitors
  6. 3.1 Determine the risk of introduced predators (especially the Red Fox) to Spot-tailed Quolls, as part of the ‘Introduced Predator Initiative’.
    Priority 3

    3.2 Once the outcomes of Actions 2.1 and 3.1 are known, develop and implement revised dog and fox baiting guidelines in areas likely to be frequented by Spot-tailed Quolls.
    Priority 3

    3.3 Incorporate the outcomes of ‘Project Deliverance’ in the Spot-tailed Quoll conservation program.
    Priority 3

  7. Survey and Monitoring
  8. 4.1 Develop population estimation, survey and monitoring techniques for Spot-tailed Quolls and implement a regular monitoring program at the two selected experimental sites.
    Priority 3

    4.2 Undertake surveys for Spot-tailed Quolls in north-eastern Victoria as part of the NE FMP.
    Priority 1

    4.3 Investigate the presence of Spot-tailed Quolls in South Gippsland.
    Priority 1

    4.4 Facilitate community participation in surveys for Spot-tailed Quoll in the Otways, Macedon Ranges, south-western and north-eastern Victoria.
    Priority 1

    4.5 Encourage the reporting of all Spot-tailed Quoll records from NRE/PV staff and the public, properly document and verify each record and include in the Wildlife Atlas.
    Priority 1

  9. Biology and Ecology
  10. 5.1 Continue to collect biological and ecological data on Spot-tailed Quoll as opportunities arise, to help build up information on the species for more effective conservation management.
    Priority 1

  11. Community Participation
  12. 6.1 Provide information on Spot-tailed Quoll conservation, threat control and habitat management to landowners with potential Spot-tailed Quoll habitat.
    Priority 3

    6.2 Provide information on Spot-tailed Quoll to the general public.
    Priority 1

  13. Project Management

7.1 Establish a Spot-tailed Quoll recovery program, managed by NRE, to initiate and coordinate actions under this Action Statement, including appointment of a project manager to be responsible for the program.
Priority 1

7.2 Maintain liaison with interstate programs and Spot-tailed Quoll researchers (including Tasmania), including participation in the Southeast Forests Spotted-tailed Quoll Working Group, and initiate a joint (Vic NSW Qld Tas) national recovery program for the south-east mainland taxon of Spot-tailed Quoll.
Priority 1


ANZECC 2000. List of Threatened Australian Fauna. Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council, Canberra.

Belcher, C.L. 1995. Diet of the Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) in East Gippsland, Victoria. Wildlife Research 22: 341-57.

Belcher, C.L. 1997. Targeted Assessments of Key Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Relation to the North East and Benalla-Mansfield Forest Management Areas, Victoria: Spot-tailed (or Tiger) Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus). Report to NRE.

Belcher, C.L. 1998. Susceptibility of the Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) and the Eastern Quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) to 1080-poisoned baits in control programs for vertebrate pests in eastern Australia. Wildlife Research 25: 33-40.

Belcher, C. 2000a. The Range, Status and Distribution of the Spot-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) in the Otway Ranges. Report to NRE for West Victoria RFA.

Belcher, C.L. 2000b. The Ecology of the Tiger Quoll, Dasyurus maculatus in south-eastern Australia. PhD Thesis, Deakin University.

Braithwaite, R.W. and Begg, R.J. 1995. Northern Quoll Dasyurus hallucatus. Pp 65-6 in: Strahan, R. (ed). The Mammals of Australia. Australian Museum and Reed Books, Sydney.

Catling, P.C. and Burt, R.J. 1995. Why are foxes absent from some eucalypt forests in eastern New South Wales? Wildlife Research 22: 535-46.

Catling, P.C., Burt, R.J. and Forrester, R.I. 1998. Models of the relationship between distribution and abundance of ground-dwelling mammals in the forests of south-eastern New South Wales and habitat and environmental variables. Wildlife Research 25: 449-66.

Catling, P.C., Burt, R.J. and Forrester, R.I. 2000. Models of the distribution and abundance of ground-dwelling mammals in the eucalypt forests of north-eastern New South Wales in relation to habitat variables. Wildlife Research 27: 639-54.

Edgar, R.J. and Belcher, C. 1995. Spotted-tailed Quoll Dasyurus maculatus. Pp 67-9 in: Strahan, R. (ed). The Mammals of Australia. Australian Museum and Reed Books, Sydney.

Firestone, K.B., Elphinstone, M.S., Sherwin, W.B. and Houlden, B.A. 1999. Phylogeographical population structure of tiger quolls Dasyurus maculatus (Dasyuridae: Marsupialia), an endangered carnivorous marsupial. Molecular Ecology 8(10): 1613-25.

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ARI Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, NRE
CAS Catchment and Agricultural Services, NRE
CAW Catchment and Water Division, NRE
CFTT Centre for Forest Tree Technology, NRE
FS Forest Service, NRE
NRE Department of Natural Resources and Environment
PFF Parks Flora and Fauna Division, NRE
TSN Threatened Species Network
VIAS Victorian Institute of Animal Science, NRE

Prepared by

Parks Flora and Fauna Division, NRE June 2001



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