• Conservationists are preparing to reintroduce the eastern quoll to Australia's mainland. (AAP)
Conservationists are preparing to reintroduce the eastern quoll to Australia's mainland, about six decades after the fury species was last seen there.
Source:
AAP
18 Oct - 4:42 PM 

A type of quoll that was wiped out on the Australian mainland more than 50 years ago is poised to make its long-awaited return to a remote piece of bushland on NSW's south coast.

The last time an eastern quoll was spotted on the mainland was in a park in the Sydney harbourside suburb of Vaucluse in the 1960s.

Since then the fury carnivores have been confined to bushland in Tasmania.

Thanks to a new quoll breeding program in Tasmania, wildlife conservationists plan to reintroduce 20 of the spotted creatures into the Booderee National Park at Jervis Bay next April.

All going well, another 80 will be introduced to the park during 2019 and 2020.

The hope is that the quolls will breed and one day spread beyond the area, re-establishing the species in their old stomping grounds in Australia's southeast.

Wildlife experts chose the national park because of the success they have had in reducing the local populations of foxes and feral cats, the predators that were responsible for wiping out the eastern quoll on the mainland.

WWF Australia's head of living ecosystems Darren Grover said potoroos and bandicoots have been reintroduced in the park recently and had started breeding.

"That gives us the confidence if we bring the quolls back they should not only survive but thrive over time," he told AAP.

"At the end of the day it will be up to the quolls. But they are fierce, bold as brass little predators so hopefully they'll do all right."

Eastern quolls grow to about the size of a cat and feeds on insects, spiders, mice, small birds, lizards, and snakes.

The 20 quolls destined for Jervis Bay are currently only a few months old but by the time they reach the mainland they will be ready to breed.

The quolls will be tagged so their progress can be monitored.

"What we learn from this will allow us to identify other suitable areas where we can also reintroduce eastern quolls," Mr Grover said.

"It's a combination of getting the geography right and also being able to get those right management practices in place to give them every possibility of surviving."

Staff from Rewilding Australia, which has bred the quoll pups, will transfer them to Jervis Bay and continue to make sure foxes and feral cats are kept at bay in the area.

Director Rob Brewster said reintroducing a species to an area was often a tricky business, but if the quoll program is a success it could be replicated in other areas.

"A lot of the failures have happened when there wasn't good feral predator control that was built into the translocation," he said.

THE LIFE OF EASTERN QUOLLS

* There are four species of quolls in Australia - the spotted-tail quoll, northern quoll, eastern quoll, western quoll

* Eastern quolls have fawn or black fur with white spots on their body

* Adults are up to 70cm long and weigh up to 2kg

* They are nocturnal, living in open forests, scrubland, heath, grassy areas and on farmed land

* Their diet is largely based on insects, but they also eat fruit, small mammals, lizards and carrion

* Life span is about three years in the wild

* Their population has been in significant decline in Tasmania, with numbers estimated in the low thousands

(Source: Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania)