Become a citizen scientist and count your quendas

02 September 2020 2:30 PM

Act now before we lose one of our endemic species, the quenda. The City of Kalamunda is encouraging residents to join the 2020 Spring Quenda Count, an environmental study facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

The quenda, an Aboriginal Noongar word, is a species of bandicoot found only in the southwest of Australia and is regularly observed in the City’s residential and bushland spaces, especially in the evenings and early mornings. Unfortunately, it has seen its numbers decline in recent years with the increase of urbanization and loss of natural habitat and is at risk of following the path of other Australian bandicoot species which have perished.

Mayor Margaret Thomas said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for families to observe the native wildlife around their homes, contribute to valuable scientific research and aid in the conservation of one of our iconic marsupials.”

“To locals it can seem like we have so many quenda – many of us have them living in our own backyards – but this is not the case throughout Perth – and the quenda population in the City is very important.”

The Spring Quenda Count runs from 1 September to 30 November, and an information session hosted by researcher Dr Roshelle Steven is being held on 3 September, 6:00pm – 7:00pm at the Guildford Town Hall. Registrations are essential by emailing rsteven@wwwf.org.au

Often mistaken for rats (as was the quokka, and hence the naming of Rottnest Island) the quendas are marsupials, known for being ‘ecosystem engineers’ as they ‘work’ the soil in their hunt for food. Females can carry up to six young in their pouch, which faces backwards to prevent it filling with soil while digging.

Residents can further reduce the risk to the quenda population by taking care while driving, walking their dogs on leads and keeping them out of prohibited areas; keeping cats confined to their properties (indoors where practical), and creating an escape route from swimming pools or garden ponds with bricks or similar.

Data from 2012-2018 studies record roadkill as the leading cause of death (49%) followed by cat attacks (7%), swimming pool drownings (5%) dog attacks (3%). Poisoning from snail and rat baits is also a major contributor to their death.  The study is interested in documenting all quendas, including those who have met their demise.

For more information about the 2020 Spring Quenda Count, or to download a Data Sheet please go to: www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/quenda-qanda#/ or email quenda@wwf.org.au.

Sightings can also be sent to fauna@dbca.wa.gov.au. Please include the location, date and description of the animal.

For general City of Kalamunda enquiries please contact the City on 9257 9999, email enquiries@kalamunda.wa.gov.au.

© City of Kalamunda 2020