Conservation of the Spotted-tailed QuollDasyurus maculatus: a conceptual and applied model with particular reference to populations of the endangeredD. m. gracilis
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Scott Burnett, Helene Marsh, 2004. "Conservation of the Spotted-tailed QuollDasyurus maculatus: a conceptual and applied model with particular reference to populations of the endangeredD. m. gracilis", Conservation of Australia's Forest Fauna, Daniel Lunney
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The northern Spotted-tailed QuollDasyurus maculatus gracilis is Endangered (QNCA 1994; EPBC Act 1999). This study therefore aims to develop a model for the species recovery in north Queensland. Due to the threatened status ofD. m. maculatus in all mainland states in which it occurs, and the similarity in threatening processes in these states, the model presented below is also broadly applicable throughout the species range. Fieldwork and desktop studies were conducted between 1992 and 1994 inclusive within the Wet Tropics Area of north Queensland. The ecology ofD. m. gracilis was studied in the field using capture-mark-recapture, radio-telemetry, mapping of latrine sites, scat analysis and quantification of the prey community. The distribution and abundance of the species within north Queensland was documented by accessing sighting records from a range of unpublished and published sources and by field survey. A rank-scoring approach was used to elucidate the potential impacts of eutherian carnivores onD. m. gracilis. These data are presented as a conceptual model for the species' conservation, based on the pressure-state-response model developed by the OECD and used in Australian State of the Environment reporting. This model identifies three ecological constraints and eight pressures which act to endanger populations of the Spotted-tailed Quoll in north Queensland. Ten responses required by managers and the community to ameliorate these pressures and return the species to a secure conservation status are also identified. Population Viability Analyses and patterns of historical extinction of marsupial carnivores suggest that even if other pressures are managed, the continued presence of feral populations of eutherian carnivores poses a serious threat to the survival of Australia's marsupial carnivores over evolutionary time.