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Dasyurus geoffroii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA DASYUROMORPHIA DASYURIDAE

Scientific Name: Dasyurus geoffroii
Species Authority: Gould, 1841
Common Name(s):
English Western Quoll, Chuditch
French Chat Marsupial De Geoffroy
Taxonomic Notes: Mitochondrial control region DNA evidence indicates that the subspecies, Dasyurus geoffroii fortis, is very closely related to the Bronze Quoll, D. spartacus, of southern New Guinea, with less divergence evident between these two taxa than is seen within species between populations of both D. maculatus and D. hallucatus (Firestone 2000).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Morris, K., Burbidge, A. & Hamilton, S.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Near Threatened because there are still fewer than 10,000 individuals. It was declining in the wheat belt when last assessed, but translocations seem to have reversed this trend in the last few years despite a continued decline in a few populations. The species can survive in a fragmented landscape. There is fox control and better awareness among public. However, the stability of populations currently depends on active management. Threats to the species are still present, but at lower levels than in the past. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion C.
History:
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Western Quoll, or Chuditch, formerly occurred as two subspecies over approximately 70% of the Australian continent, being found in every mainland state and the Northern Territory; museum specimens from the east of Australia of D. geoffroii geoffroii are known from Peak Downs in eastern Queensland (Thomas 1888), the Liverpool plains of New South Wales (Gould 1840), and Mildura New South Wales (Kreft 1857). The western subspecies, D. g. fortis, is now restricted to the south-west of Western Australia, occurring at low densities throughout the Jarrah forest and more patchily in the drier woodlands and mallee shrublands of the central and southern Wheatbelt (Maxwell et al. 1996). The Julimar population is translocated.
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Western Australia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total population of Western Quolls is probably under 10,000 individuals. Some populations are under 100 individuals (as in Julimar). The species probably naturally occurs in small populations. The Western Quoll is very wide ranging. There is some fluctuation within populations. The species has suffered declines in the past, but due to active management and translocations, it seems to be recovering.

Western Quoll are known from 25 of the 57 fauna monitoring sites in the south-west of Western Australia, in 15 of these, the species has increased in abundance (as measured by trap success rates) or remained unchanged since fox control was implemented in 1996 (K. Morris pers. comm.). In the other 10 sites this species has declined; the reason for this is unclear at present, however, in at least one of these sites (Honeymoon Pool, Collie River) management practices have changed so that rubbish bins are no longer left at the picnic and camping sites (Western Quolls are well known scavengers) (K. Morris pers. comm.). A study into the impact of introduced predators on native fauna, including native predators such as the Western Quoll, is currently underway and reintroduction of captive breed D. g. fortis to former areas of its range in the arid zone of Western Australia is planned for the period 2009-2012 (K. Morris pers. comm.).

Whilst no substantiated evidence has been found to support the continued presence of the eastern subspecies D. g. geoffroii in Queensland, New South Wales or Victoria, there are three unconfirmed reports cited in the Threatened Species of Western New South Wales folder (1996) of this species from far western New South Wales. Specifically, these sighting are from 1996 at North of Broken Hill, in 1990 from "Myall" NW of Tilpa, and "Albermarle" between Broken Hill and Menindee in 1988. The latter record was chased out of a tree but escaped into a rabbit warren. Known and unconfirmed occurrences of D. maculatus from the central and far west of New South Wales make it hard to verify reports of D. geoffroii made by the public (as distinguishing the two species can be difficult). A live D. geoffroii was confiscated by New South Wales Department of Conservation and Climate change staff in 1983 from a chicken pen on a property in Central West New South Wales - it was presumed to have been a captive individual/pet that had originated from a from Western Australia stock, however, its origins were never verified and there was no further consideration or exploration of the possibility of a wild population persisting in the area, despite being within its former range (S. Hamilton pers. comm.). It is generally accepted that mammal survey techniques in most areas of the former eastern range of D. g. geoffroii have not been targeted towards D. g. geoffroii, being neither adequate in magnitude or duration to detect the presence of this species if it does indeed persist at all.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The former wide range of the Western Quoll suggests the capability of occupying a variety of habitats, including deserts, woodlands, mallee shrublands, sclerophyll forests, and coastal areas. The species can be found in degraded areas. Western Quolls are generally nocturnal and solitary. Females construct burrows during pregnancy and maintain non-overlapping core areas in their home range (Maxwell et al. 1996). It is an opportunistic species that mainly eats invertebrates.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat alteration due to clearing, grazing, and frequent wildfire (especially extensive, hot wildfires) may have detrimentally impacted the population; after fires, there is often an incursion of foxes, which can be detrimental. Competition for food and predation from cats and foxes, hunting, and poisoning have also contributed to its decline.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Recovery objectives for this species (Maxwell et al. 1996) include: ensuring that the species persists within its present (1992) range, and increasing population numbers by expansion into former range.

Management actions completed or underway (Maxwell et al. 1996): habitat management research into the impact of prescribed burning and timber harvesting in the Jarrah forest is under way. Western Quoll habitat requirements are considered during rehabilitation after bauxite mining; impact of fox control programs completed research has shown that Western Quolls have benefited from fox control programs using 1080 meat baits. A broad-scale fox baiting program is now under way in the Jarrah forest; Western Quoll populations are being monitored at several sites within the Jarrah forest as part of the Department of Environment and Conservation (Western Australia) faunal management programs and as part of ongoing research into fox control, prescribed burning, and timber harvesting. A monitoring site in the Wheatbelt has not yet been established; distribution and requirements in the semi-arid zone increase over the next few years. An extensive survey for Western Quolls in the southern Wheatbelt failed to detect any. Populations may have continued to decline over the last 10 years and restocking of suitable areas is probably required; captive breeding program ongoing and successfully undertaken at Perth Zoo since 1989. Over 60 Western Quolls have been bred, with most being used for translocation to Julimar Conservation Park; a successful translocation has been undertaken at Julimar Conservation Park. Translocations to Wheatbelt reserves and Shark Bay have been proposed.

A study into the impact of introduced predators on native fauna, including native predators such as the Western Quoll is currently underway (K. Morris pers. comm.).

Bibliography [top]

Firestone, K. 2000. Phylogenetic relationships among quolls revisited: The mtDNA control region as a useful tool. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 7(1): 1064-7554.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Maxwell, S., Burbidge, A. A. and Morris, K. 1996. The 1996 Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes. Australasian Marsupial and Monotreme Specialist Group, IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland.

Orell, P. and Morris, K. 1994. Chuditch Recovery Plan. Wildlife Management Program No. 13. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth, Australia.

Serena, M., Soderquist, T. R. and Morris, K. 1991. The Chuditch: Dasyurus geoffroii. Wildlife Management Program. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth, Australia.

Thomas, O. 1888. Catalogue of the Marsupialia and Monotremata in the collection of the British Museum, London.

Thomas, O. 1906. On mammals collected in south-west Australia for Mr W.E. Balston. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1906: 468-478.


Citation: Morris, K., Burbidge, A. & Hamilton, S. 2008. Dasyurus geoffroii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 July 2014.
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