Recently, ecologists at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary in Australia were conducting a routine survey when they noticed something amazing. A group of female western quolls appeared to have something wriggling in their pouches. The ecologists were thrilled — the sanctuary’s very first baby western quolls had arrived.
Western quolls are marsupial mammals who grow to be about the size of a domestic cat. These fuzzy animals play a key role in controlling populations of small invertebrates, including certain reptiles and birds. According to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), western quolls used to be present in many habitats across a vast portion of the Australian mainland. But these days, their numbers are dwindling.
“Following European settlement, their range contracted dramatically,” AWC wrote in a press release. “Apart from reintroductions, they are now found only in the south-western corner of [Western Australia], and even within this region, their distribution is patchy.”