A farmer in South Australia was simply minding his own business while trying to protect his chickens and happened upon an animal that was ‘believed to have been extinct for over 100 years’.
After worrying that his chicken was taken by a cat, Pao Ling Tsai discovered a fanged. creature that has not been recorded in the state for more than 130 years outside the Limestone Coast.
When he took photos of the strange animal before it escaped, Tsai was extremely confused and approached South Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to set a trap.
“I expected to find a cat, but I found this endangered animal,” Tsai told ABC South East SA. “Unbelievable. I didn’t know what it was at first.”
On Thursday (28 September), the wildlife service found the rare species inside the trap and identified it as a spotted-tailed quoll, also known as a tiger quoll.
“The species is considered extinct in South Australia, with no official records for 100 years or more,” NPWS Limestone Coast district ranger Ross Anderson told Newsweek. “There have been unofficial records since then.”
“This is the first official record of that time period,” Anderson continued. “There have been a few unofficial sightings but no one has actually had the animal photographed, or in their hand, for that long.
“It’s amazing that something we thought was lost turned up at our back door.”
According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, it is believed that there are only 14,000 of the endangered spotted quoll left in the wild.
“They are considered extinct here because of habitat loss, predation and competition with things like cats and wolves,” Anderson added.
“We can’t be sure where it came from. Is it an animal that still exists as a relict population? Is it something that escaped from captivity?
“It may be a Lone Ranger that has traveled a long distance, a member of a relict population or an escape from captivity,” Anderson told Newsweek.
The NPWS has since ‘laid more traps’ in the hope of trapping or filming ‘more of them’.
He added: “We will also be putting up some night-vision cameras to see if there are more quolls on that farm or in the Beachport area.
“The traps we set do not harm an animal. We do not recommend people try to trap them or interact with them themselves, however, but trail cameras are a good way to record and monitor any suspected quoll population or activity in the local area.”