News - 09 May 2019

Spotted-tailed Quoll (NSW/Vic/Tas)

Photo: David Gallan

Dasyurus maculatus maculatus

Conservation status: Mainland populations: ENDANGERED (EPBC Act); Tasmania: VULNERABLE (EPBC Act); Victoria: THREATENED (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988) 

Uplisted since RFAs commenced? YES; in 2003/4 [separately listed]

EPBC Act recovery plan? YES


“Spotted-tailed Quoll populations are limited to large, relatively intact patches of forest and are significantly prone to threatening processes that reduce, degrade and fragment such habitat. Many of the prey of the Spotted-tailed Quoll are reliant on hollows for shelter and breeding and hence their abundance will be influenced by forestry practices that reduce these resources… Timber harvesting [logging] occurs through a considerable proportion of the range of the Spotted-tailed Quoll and has been implicated in localised population declines and extinctions (Mansergh 1984)… It is suggested that forestry practices (including controlled burns) that remove or reduce prey or critical habitat elements such as trees with hollows, hollow logs, a complex vegetation structure, >50% canopy cover and rock or burrow den sites, may render the habitat unsuitable, at least temporarily… Given the very long time periods required to form hollows in trees and logs, intensive forestry practices could have a major impact on the availability of den sites, especially where logging is followed by burning (Andrew 2005). These practices may be particularly detrimental to a population if they coincide with the breeding season (Watt 1993).”
Source: National Recovery Plan for the Spotted-tailed Quoll

“It is apparent that the proposed increases in logging intensity [under new NSW IFOAs]—reduced protection for hollow-bearing trees and removal of protection for recruitment trees—are likely to have a significant effect on Spotted-tailed Quolls and their prey. The failure to undertake a rigorous monitoring program to assess the effectiveness of current logging prescriptions, and proposed changes to them, on Spotted-tailed Quolls is in contravention of the recovery plan objectives and actions 1.3. 4.2 and 4.3 (Pugh, D., 2018).” 

In early 2018, a Spotted-tailed Quoll was discovered in the Baw Baw region, just the seventeenth sighting of the species in that part of VIctoria. By law, a 500ha Special Protection Zone is required to be put in place when a Spotted-tail Quoll is sighted. On the Cottonwood Range in East Gippsland there have been only a handful of sightings of Spotted-tailed Quolls in the last decade. But, areas of forest where Spotted-tail Quolls are detected are logged, and Special Protection Zones, if allocated, are located away from detection sites (Pers. comm, 2019). 

Map 1: Sample of planned logging areas that are likely to impact this species (Vic)
Map 2: Sample of planned logging areas that are likely to impact this species (NSW)

Full logging plan maps: Vic; NSW

Next: Greater Glider (NSW/Vic)

Our forest wildlife in crisis: Greater Gliders were once abundant along the east coast, but populations have crashed by 80% in the last 20 years.