New home for Quolls in the northern Flinders Ranges
Locally extinct from the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park, a new population of Western Quolls, known as Idnya by the Adnymathanha people, has been released in the park.
Twenty-five Idnya were successfully translocated from Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park to Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park at the start of April
The Idnya were welcomed by Adnyamathanha elders Roger Johnson and Clifford Coulthard in a ceremony that was also attended by representatives from the Department for Agriculture, Water and Environment and on behalf of Australian Government’s Threatened Species Commissioner, the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board and local National Parks and Wildlife staff, who also took part in releasing the animals to their new home. Prolonged drought conditions had seen the release delayed and recent good rains in the northern parts of the Flinders Ranges have provided ideal conditions for the Idnya.
SA Arid Lands Landscape Board General Manager Jodie Gregg-Smith said the Board, was proud to be part of such a momentous occasion.
“To be involved with returning Idnya to an environment they once lived before predation by cats and foxes decimated them, and have them welcomed to country by Adnyamathanha elders, is a proud moment for the Board, and all of the partners involved.”
A dedicated team of ecologists and volunteers captured a record number of Idnya at Ikara before choosing the 25 individuals that represent the founders of a new population in the northern Flinders Ranges.
The Idnya were fitted with radio-transmitters to enable the reintroduction team to check their survival and determine how well they are settling in their new home. The early signs are positive, with all surviving the first week.
The Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park Idnya population was founded with animals from Western Australia between 2014-2016 and it expanded slowly during the drought years of 2017-2019. Since then the population has significantly increased following an improvement in annual rainfall. Trapping results from December 2021 and again in March 2022 leading up to the relocation show the population continues to grow.
“The number of quolls captured are a positive indicator for establishing the new population at Vulkathunha,” Reintroduction Ecologist Tali Moyle said.
“Provided we continue to control foxes and keep cat numbers low, the fantastic plant and insect response following recent rains, plus the abundant shelter opportunities at Vulkathunha, bode well for healthy recruitment and population growth this spring,” she said.
The release of the Idnyas was made possible through the Bounceback and Beyond project, which is supported by the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the Department for Environment and Water and the Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered (FAME).