Community & Business

23 January, 2023

Travelling Quolls returned home

A FAMILY of northern quolls is back home on the Tablelands after going on an accidental 5,600km return journey to Melbourne.

One of the quolls starts to leave the box after DES officers took the animals back to their habitat.
One of the quolls starts to leave the box after DES officers took the animals back to their habitat.

Five northern quolls – a mother and her four dependent babies – were found in a box of pumpkins at Melbourne Wholesale Market in Epping, Victoria, on 13 December 2022.

It is believed the quolls entered the box while at a farm in Far North Queensland and were trans-ported to Melbourne along with other cartons of vegetables.

After the stowaways were discovered, the Melbourne Market Authority worked with the Conservation Regulator who organised for the quolls to be taken to Melbourne Zoo and receive care from veterinary staff.

While the quolls were recovering from their travels, Conservation Regulator Forest and Wild-life Officers identified their original location near Cairns in Far North Queensland.

Once the quolls were deemed healthy and ready for release and were flown back to Queensland on 5 January.

Department Environment and Science (DES) wildlife officers collected the small animals from Cairns airport that evening and transported them to the Tablelands, where a vet once again assessed their health.

After getting the all-clear, officers successfully released the quolls back to their natural habitat that night. DES Senior Wildlife Officer Dinouk Perera said this was a great outcome for the family of protected marsupials.

“Northern quolls are native to tropical and sub-tropical climates across Australia and have adapted to thrive in warmer conditions, which means they are not built to live in a typically colder place like Melbourne,” he said.

“These quolls are very lucky to have been rescued and taken into care, as they had travelled a long way without food or water. We are very grateful to the Melbourne Market Authority, Melbourne Zoo and Victoria’s Conservation Regulator for working with us to bring these animals home where they belong.”


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