It’s no secret that Australian flora and fauna is unique. In fact, more than 80 percent of Australian mammals and 90 percent of trees, ferns and shrubs occur nowhere else on earth. However, in the last 200 years (coinciding with European settlement), over 130 of native species have become extinct – and the list of those threatened with extinction continues to grow.

Meet the eastern quoll

With its pointy nose, bushy tail and spotted fur of either soft fawn or dark brown, the eastern quoll is one cute carnivore. This small cat-sized marsupial prefers to spend its days nesting under rocks in underground burrows or fallen logs, coming out at night to hunt in open country or woodland. If you’re lucky though, you may spot one foraging in the daytime – but only in Tasmania.

Once found across most of Australia’s southeast, the introduction of feral cats and foxes has seen them restricted to the southernmost state for the past half a century. Even here its population size has declined by at least 50 percent in the past decade.

Rewilding Australia to the rescue

With the threatened status of the eastern quoll, Rewilding Australia has come about with a mission to reverse this decline by protecting and reintroducing the keystone species back onto the Australian mainland. Director Rob Brewster started Rewilding Australia to try and recover some of the precious nature that makes Australia so unique.

Apart from increasing animal diversity and decreasing chances of further species decline, quolls play a significant role in regulating ecosystems.

“They used to call them the farmers’ friends. Their appetite for rabbits, mice and rats helps keep the populations of these pests under control and maintains a natural balance,” Rob said.

“The flow on effect of reintroducing quolls is that they will further aid a broad range of other important ecosystem engineer species, such as bandicoots, bettongs and potoroos.”

Rewilding Australia supports the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy by working with the government, ecologists, land managers, traditional owners and communities to educate, protect and restore Australia’s unique ecosystems.

Their flagship Rewilding the Eastern Quoll 2015 – 2020 program saw the first wild reintroduction attempt to Australia’s mainland for the eastern quoll. These were the first eastern quolls known to be born in the wild on the Australian mainland in the last 50 years.

Reintroductions are a vital first step in identifying the challenges that the quolls face in the wild. Such knowledge then enables an appropriate management action to be implemented to improve the chances of these animals being able to successfully re-establish on the mainland.

“Our generation is the first to live without the experience of so many of our unique mammals that call Australia’s ecosystems home … I want Australians to experience our forests live again with the animals that evolved in them over millions of years!” Rob said.

Lamai Anne is also serious about protecting the wildlife that features so heavily in her art. That is why all proceeds from Quinby the Quoll, printed on beautiful pearlescent paper, will be donated to Rewilding Australia – to help secure the future of not just eastern quolls, but the rest of Australia’s precious ecosystem.

October 02, 2019 — Milena Tsitovitch