THE Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) is appealing for any information relating to a dead chuditch, or western quoll, found on a footpath outside Bateman Primary School earlier this month.
Chuditch are carnivorous marsupials found in the Perth Hills and the South-West but populations are not known to live in built-up parts of the metropolitan area.
DPaW animal science program leader Keith Morris said the dead chuditch was reported to the department on Thursday June 9 by a member of the public who recognised it as an uncommon native species.
“This kind of discovery is exciting for us because it raises questions about how the animal came to be in suburban Perth,” Mr Morris said.
“We know that chuditch can move long distances, so maybe it travelled from the Hills along the Canning River using reserves as corridors. That may be 20km or more.
“For it to have avoided predators such as cats and dogs, along with vehicles, for that distance would be remarkable.
“Another possibility is that someone who had been keeping the chuditch released it.
“The other option is that the species is still naturally occurring in the area, however this is unlikely because there are no remnant bushland areas large enough to support a chuditch population.
“Chuditch probably occurred in the area until the 1950s when the Bateman area was still bushland and rural lots.”
Mr Morris said the chuditch, a two-year-old male, was buried in nearby bushland by the Bateman Primary School gardener before it was retrieved by DPaW the following day.
It will be taken to the Western Australian Museum to be added to the State’s fauna collection.
“The animal was in very good condition and showed no signs of being predated, although it had a break in a rear leg, indicating it may have died after being hit by a vehicle,” he said.
Anyone with information about chuditch sightings in the Bateman area, or in wider metropolitan Perth, please contact Keith Morris at DPaW on 0400 746645,or firstname.lastname@example.org