Conservation efforts increasing Perth quenda numbers

A quenda. Photo courtesy of Perth Zoo.
A quenda. Photo courtesy of Perth Zoo.

THE City of Stirling’s small population of quendas is increasing, thanks to conservation efforts.

In 2013 the City and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) collaborated to move quendas, a species of southern brown bandicoot, from Ellenbrook and Lightning Swamp Bushland in Noranda to Star Swamp Reserve in North Beach, Trigg Bushland, Dianella’s Cottonwood Reserve and Dianella Regional Open Space.

City staff run annual surveys to check the population health, weigh, measure and microchip quendas and check for joeys, reporting their findings to DBCA.

The most recent survey in spring showed the program was yielding results, with local quenda numbers up from 71 in 2018 to 92 this year.

The City installed permanent educational signage and fencing in reserves home to quendas, and holds fox and feral cat trapping quarterly to help protect them.

A City of Stirling sign advising of quenda habitat.

Parks and sustainability manager Ian Hunter said the marsupials played a critical role in the environment by spreading important microbes and fungi spores through their foraging.

“The City asks the public to assist by keeping dogs on leash, contain cats indoors and to avoid feeding the quendas,” he said.

“Surveys last year in Star Swamp revealed 20 per cent of the population were obese due to being fed by people.

“Obesity-related health issues leads to diseases and early death, with quendas only living three to four years in the wild.”

Mr Hunter said there was recently an outbreak of sarcoptic scabies, which could be fatal in animals if untreated.

“Fortunately the outbreak was contained, demonstrating the important work of the City’s natural areas team in protecting our native fauna,” he said.

It was a particularly happy ending for one young female quenda, which was treated for advanced scabies for six weeks and upon release found to have two joeys in her pouch.

A female quenda and her two joeys released after being treated for scabies. Photo: City of Stirling

People are encouraged to report any signs of illness, injury or disease in quendas to the City.

More news:

Police hunt suspect in Scarborough assault

‘Hallucinating’ driver charged