By Melissa Sheil
A RARE sighting of a threatened native animal in Glen Forrest has local environmental scientists excited for the future of the population, while also adding fuel to their battle against redevelopment of the site.
Between February and May, multiple Western Quolls, or chuditch, were spotted on footage captured to survey the native wildlife inhabiting the area between the Glen Forrest Superblock off Ryecroft Road and Helena Valley.
South West Wildlife Learning and Discovery Network founding member Francesca Flynn said she hoped the sighting indicated a rise in the species population.
“I don’t want to speculate, but I am hopeful this means positive things for the chuditch population,” she said.
“Chuditch are a threatened species under State and Commonwealth legislation, classified as ‘likely to become extinct’ in the wild and specially protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.
“They were previously found across most of Australia, but following European settlement, have now disappeared from 95 per cent of their former range.
“Chuditch sightings in the Perth Hills are rare and [state government records] only show one record of chuditch in the area.
“It’s impossible to tell how many individual chuditch were recorded in the recent footage but we hope it means good things.”
However, Ms Flynn said there is a hurdle to restoring chuditch population numbers, as the lots they were found on – Lot 487 Holbrook Road and Lot 506 Jellicoe Road – are earmarked to be sold for development.
“Both lots comprise undeveloped bushland owned by the State Government, but as the State no longer needs the land, it is proposing to sell it to a private developer for residential housing,” she said.
“The lots where the chuditch were recorded are amongst the only remaining access corridor for native fauna between the Glen Forrest Superblock, a known biodiversity hotspot, and the Helena Valley.
“The Shire of Mundaring Council has twice attempted to convince the State to keep the land as bush.
“We are currently awaiting the State ‘s decision and really hope they will choose to allow the land to remain to give the chuditch a fighting chance for survival.”
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