Farmer captures fanged beast ‘assumed extinct for more than 100 years’
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One South Australian farmer was simply minding his business while trying to protect his chickens and happened upon an animal which has been 'assumed extinct for more than 100 years'.
After worries that his poultry were being taken by a cat, Pao Ling Tsai discovered a fanged creature which has not recorded in the state for over 130 years just off the Limestone Coast.
"I expected to find a cat, but I found this endangered animal," Tsai revealed to ABC South East SA. "It was incredible. I had no idea what it was at first."
On Thursday (28 September), the wildlife service found the rare species inside the trap and identified it as the spotted-tailed quoll, also known as the tiger quoll.
"The species was considered extinct in South Australia, with no official records for some 100 years or more," NPWS Limestone Coast district ranger Ross Anderson explained to Newsweek. "There have been unofficial records since that time."
“It’s the first official record in that period of time," Anderson continued. "There have been some unofficial sightings but nobody’s actually had an animal photographed, or in their hand, for that length of time.
"It’s amazing to have something we thought was extinct turning up at our backdoor."
According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, there are believed to be only 14,000 left of the endangered spotted quoll in the wild.
"They’re considered extinct here as a result of loss of habitat, predation and competition with things like cats and foxes," Anderson added.
"We can’t be sure where it’s come from. Is it an animal that still exists as a relic population? Is that something that has escaped from captivity? Or is it just a lone animal that’s what a really long way."
"It may be a Lone Ranger that has traveled a long distance, a member of a relict population or an escape from captivity," Anderson revealed to Newsweek.
The NPWS has since 'set more traps' in the hopes of either trapping or filming 'more of them'.
He added: "We'll also set up some night-vision cameras to determine if there are more quolls at that farm or in the Beachport area.
"The traps that we've set won't harm an animal. We wouldn't recommend people try to trap them or interact with them themselves, however, but trail cameras are a really good way of recording and monitoring any suspected quoll populations or activity in the local area."