Mechanisms of extinction for northern quolls PDF Print E-mail

Understanding current mechanisms of extinction using population models for the northern quoll, Dasyurus hallucatus across tropical Australia

The northern quoll is an ecologically and culturally important predator in the Australian tropics (the largest carnivorous marsupial in northern Australia). It that has suffered a population loss of more than 50% in the last ten years. It has now disappeared from most of its former range and is classed as globally endangered by the IUCN. Poisoning by invading cane toads is the main focus of blame, but much of the quolls’ decline pre-dates cane toad invasion. Northern quolls have retreated from grassland and savanna habitats and now appear confined to areas of rock outcrops. It has been hypothesized that rugged areas protect quolls from feral cats, foxes and other potential threats.

This Working Group brings researchers, managers and modellers together to


- coordinate data collection and conservation effort nationally,
- establish a database of population and environmental parameters,
- test hypotheses to explain the decline regionally through modelling and meta-analysis of population dynamics, and
- find if rocky habitat is protective.


Our results will inform regionally-targeted conservation actions that include non-cane toad threats. We will examine a recent paradigm in conservation ecology that threats are usually synergistic (combinations cause faster decline than expected from their individual effects). Northern quolls are ideal for testing this idea, as different combinations of invasive species (foxes, cats and cane toads) and habitat modification occur across the large range, and study sites in replicate habitats are being intensively sampled by several independent research groups.


photo credits: Johnathan Webb and Eric Vanderduys


Principal Investigator: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Sunday, 08 February 2015 15:32