The Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species (FAME), established in 1993, is an organisation which directs the funds it raises to saving endangered species. It forms partnerships with like-minded organisations, wildlife authorities and private landholders on projects that increase the likelihood of endangered species survival. Some of its recent projects have been centred on the Mountain Pygmy Possum in Victoria, Bridled Nailtail Wallabies in Queensland, and the Tasmanian Devil through the Devil Ark in the Hunter Valley.
A current project involves the Western Quoll (Dasyurus geoffroii) ,once common across around 70% of mainland Australia, but which became restricted to south-western Western Australia. This quoll, a carnivorous mammal about the size of a cat with greyish red fur and white spots, once was important at the top of the food chain in arid regions.
FAME is working with the South Australian Department of the Environment to reintroduce the quoll to arid and semi-arid areas starting with the Flinders Ranges in South Australia.
In 2014 41 quolls from Western Australia were relocated in the Flinders Ranges on a trial basis. This trial was successful as the majority of the quolls survived and more than 60 young were born. In May last year a further 37 adult quolls were released to bring the population of the new colony to over 100 animals.
Originally the Flinders Ranges was home to 54 native mammals but only 28 have been recorded there since 1970. This decline has resulted from habitat change due to livestock and rabbit grazing and the impact of introduced predators. Improved pest management since the 1990s means reintroduction of species to the Ranges is more likely to succeed.
FAME is also involved in reintroducing the Brushtail Possum to the Ranges. In mid-2015 79 Brush-tailed Possums from Yookamurra Sanctuary, an Australian Wildlife Conservancy reserve near Swan Reach South Australia, were released along river red gum floodplains and creek lines. Half have been radio-collared so that a check can be made of how they are adapting.
If these two projects are successful, the Flinders Ranges mammal species count will rise to thirty.
- Leonie Blain
This post originally appeared in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on 25 January 2016.