Day 79 of #the100dayproject and my #realandendangered project. Today, we return to Australia to look at another marsupial, the Northern quoll, which occurs in the Pilbara, Kimberley, parts of the Northern Territory and near-coastal Queensland. There are six total species of quoll (4 in Australia, 2 in New Zealand), but here's what makes this one worth the highlight: 1. They are the smallest of the four Australian quoll species. 2. Males are the largest mammal to be subject to semelparity, meaning they typically die after their first breeding season. 3. They have reddish brown fur with a cream underside and lots of white spots on its back and rump. 4. They are nocturnal. 5. They are carnivorous. Their diet consists of invertebrates, but they also eat small mammals, reptiles, birds, carrion and fruit.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature currently lists them as "endangered." It appears they are vulnerable to disease, feral cats and dogs, habitat loss, and the large spread of cane toads (which are poisonous to Northern quolls). In terms of conservation, they do occur in a number of protected area (including 15 conservation reserves), which allows their population to be monitored. The Territory Wildlife Park has run a captive breeding program, which has been successful. They are also having success training the species to avoid the cane toads through the questionable method of feeding the quoll cane toads with toxins removed. In the toxin's place is a mild poison that makes them ill, but they can recover and learn to avoid cane toads in the future. The species also got an added boost in awareness when it was selected by Sir David Attenborough as one of the top ten species he would save on his ark. #enmlillustration #thesadhappy #digitalart