Government inaction set to destroy Spotted-tail Quoll Habitat at Baw Baw

Government-owned VicForests will log Spotted-tail Quoll habitat off the southern slopes of Mt. Baw Baw in the coming days despite widespread community opposition. The environment department are yet to produce any protection measures for the elusive animal, since the initial sighting by a Citizen Scientist in April.

By law, every sighting of a Spotted-tail Quoll triggers the establishment of a 500 hectare “Special Protection Zone”; an area that prohibits logging. This is the highest level of protection from logging operations an animal can receive in the Central Highlands Forest Management Area.

Lily D’Ambrosio announced on Facebook earlier this year:

“We’ve verified the sighting of a Spotted-tail Quoll in the Erica State Forest in the Mount Baw Baw area.

This is the first confirmed sighting in the central highlands since February 2016.

The required ongoing measures to protect its habitat from timber harvesting will be finalised in coming days.” [1]

  Above: Lily D'Ambrosio's Facebook post on May 8, regarding the sighting

Above: Lily D'Ambrosio's Facebook post on May 8, regarding the sighting

More than 16 weeks have passed since this announcement and the ‘measures to protect’ the Quoll still haven't been released by Lily’s Environment Department. Community members have been awaiting the response for months now and conservationist Jake Mckenzie is outraged the department are opening the doors for localised extinction through logging operations. 

“Discussions with the community regarding the Quoll protection have been kept to a minimum: the community expected to hear how the environment department planned to protect the animal from timber harvesting four months ago. Now the area’s status has been updated online, indicating VicForests’ intention to log next week and we still haven’t heard a thing.” Mr. Mckenzie said.

“VicForests is ready to bulldoze the quoll’s habitat within a mere two kilometers of where the animal was recorded.” Says Mr. Mckenzie.

  Above: Spot-tailed quoll caught on camera in the forest of Mt Baw Baw. Photo courtesy of Milan Stupar.

Above: Spot-tailed quoll caught on camera in the forest of Mt Baw Baw. Photo courtesy of Milan Stupar.

“This is a very rare sighting, and it should be protected. Without intensive surveys for the Quoll, how are we to know if these beautiful areas set to be logged don’t provide habitat for one of the last populations within this entire mountain range?”

These large carnivorous marsupials have huge home ranges of up to 5000 hectares and can travel over six kilometers in a single night. They require large, intact patches of forest and are significantly at risk to threatening processes that fragment or degrade the landscape, in particular timber harvesting and habitat clearing. [2] 

The high-quality habitat to be logged must be retained as a critical area for the survival of the species in this region.     

With national threatened species day on the 7th of September fast approaching, this is a great opportunity for our government to show Victorians that it’s serious about conserving our endangered wildlife.

  Above: Drone footage of one of the coupes on the chopping block.

Above: Drone footage of one of the coupes on the chopping block.