Post-bushfire weed invasion threatens the spotted-tail quoll

Give a quoll a home: Steve Haslam with one of his spotted friends. Photo: Quoll HQ.
Give a quoll a home: Steve Haslam with one of his spotted friends. Photo: Quoll HQ.

Tenterfield conservationist Steve Haslam, battling incendiary weed species after bushfire devastated his quoll conservation property, has receive a $20,000 boost from a ground-breaking alliance between WIRES and Landcare Australia.

Steve is among dedicated New England Landcarers committed to protecting a haven for the near endangered spotted-tail quoll from further bushfires. Purchased more than 20 years ago by Steve -- a member of Granite Borders Landcare Committee -- his Quoll Headquarters is a 400 ha sanctuary for the largest marsupial predator left in Australia.

In February last year the site was devastated by bushfire and since then emerging flammable weeds, specifically African Lovegrass, has moved in, increasing risk of further fires in the future.

With financial assistance from the WIRES Landcare Australia Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grants, Steve and Granite Borders Landcare will work in partnership to conduct a weed control program aimed at protecting the habitat for quoll and other native flora and fauna.

"The quoll in NSW is currently listed as vulnerable although they are endangered in other states and I bought this property with the sole purpose of protecting the species,' Steve explained.

"The firestorm that ripped through Quoll Headquarters did immense damage to the entire site and what has emerged since then is an abundance of invasive weed species, like African Lovegrass which threaten the natural diversity and balance of ecological communities. And they also prove a major flammable hazard in bushfire conditions.

"So working with Granite Borders Landcare to target these weeds will give the habitat a greater chance of survival and hopefully, mitigate the fire risk. And the funds from the WIRES Landcare Australia Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grants provide the resources to allow us to protect habitat for wildlife.

"While rehabilitation for impacted animals is vital, ultimately, if we don't protect their home from the effects of climate change, there will be nowhere for them to go."

Both flora and fauna survey assessments will be carried out to compare the progress of recovery against the previous years to ensure activities are having a positive effect on wildlife.

Launched in April 2020, the WIRES Landcare Australia Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grants is a pioneering alliance between two not-for-profits that have been part of the fabric of local communities for over 30 years.

Sixty-four environmental groups across the country will benefit from the landmark $1.1million grants partnership supporting recovery of wildlife habitats impacted by bushfire and drought.

Made possible due to the unprecedented volume of donations to WIRES from within Australia and around the world following the Black Summer bushfires, this grants program will support wide-ranging regeneration projects focused on restoring habitat impacted by the bushfires.

Projects include rainforest revegetation, installation of nest boxes to replace destroyed tree hollows for decimated native species, feeding programs for endangered wildlife, management of invasive weeds, erosion control and protection of our waterways and aquatic habitat.