Save the last stronghold of the endangered Spotted-Tailed Quoll

Proposed development of a mega-resort in the Elbow Valley region of SE Queensland may push the Spotted-Tailed Quoll to local extinction.

Chinese Development Company Joyful View Garden Real Estate proposes to develop over 2090 acres of land into a mix of permanent resident and resort-style accommodation for overseas visitors and residents of up to 4000 people. The environmental impact of the mini-city may push the Spotted-Tailed Quoll to extinction in this region. Research ('Ecology & Conservation of the Spotted-Tailed Quoll in Southern Queensland', Meyer-Gleaves 2008) shows this area to be the last stronghold of the species in south east Queensland.

The animal is mainland Australias largest marsupial carnivore and is listed by the Federal Government as endangered. It is also recognised internationally as vulnerable under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Wildlife Preservation Society of Qld cites 'habitat destruction and loss, many types of development or industry and increased traffic on roads' as the key reasons the Spotted-Tailed Quoll has become endangered. Recent research adds 'removal of cover, contact with exotic predators and human populations, impact of introduced species, persecution and hunting, and poisoning programs'.

In 2009 Southern Downs Regional Council opposed the proposed extension of the Unimin mine in the same region, citing the proposed expansion might have a potential impact on the habitat of the quoll yet passed this proposed development in June 2011 with no consideration for the species!

The recent extinction rate of mammals in Australia is unequalled anywhere in the world.

The petition will be sent to the Minister of Sustainability and Environment who will make the final decision on approval of the mega-resort.

We need YOUR help to ensure the survival of this important native carnivore. Please sign the petition to add your voice to help one with none.

Dear Minister - We the undersigned ask you to rule against the construction of the proposed mega-resort at Cherrabah in the Elbow Valley region as we strongly believe research supports the contention that it will lead directly to the extinction of the local Spotted-Tailed Quoll population in this area.

A 5-year scientific research project conducted in the area and culminating in publication of 'Ecology & Conservation of the Spotted-Tailed Quoll in Southern Queensland' (Meyer-Gleaves 2008) highlighted this population to be the last stronghold of this important native carnivore in southern Queensland. In addition the research found the site is "dominated by an ecosystem listed as 'of concern' with 'endangered' biodiversity status (ecosystem 13.13.4 - Vegetation Management Act 2005)".

Losing this population would be detrimental to quoll research generally as it has already been the subject of long-term study and therefore provides excellent baseline data. The Federal Government's own Draft National Recovery Plan for the species cites the importance of such populations for its long-term survival.

As human activity, introduced animals (dogs/cats that come with humans); changes to habitat through land clearing and change of use; and traffic accidents are known to detrimentally affect quoll populations the expansion of Cherrabah can therefore be presumed to have a negative impact on this population as all of these threats are posed by the development.

In late 2005 when Cherrabah changed owners (to the present owner) disturbance events increased, land management practices altered and there was a substantial reduction in tolerance levels of management and staff residents to the presence of quolls and other wildlife. Increased land clearing and reduction in predator control had a measurable impact on the quoll population. The Meyer-Gleaves study found a reduction in breeding success and/or juvenile survival leading to lower population numbers as young were not recruited into the population (from 44.52% juveniles in 2005 to 25% in 2006).

The researchers pointed out: "The local extinction of populations of this endangered species is highly possible within only a small number of years if disturbance occurs unchecked and conservation efforts are either non-existent or unsuccessful".

The proposed development will change the landscape of the property from remnant wildlife habitat with low level human presence to one dominated by human infrastructure and potentially large numbers of tourists and residents.

Since 2006 the owners of Cherrabah have refused to allow further research into the quoll population on the land - except for their own commissioned report. In 2008 the owners were fined by the Queensland government for illegal clearing of vegetation when they erected an electrified fence around 820ha of the site. At the same time they "removed" wildlife from within the boundary.

Yet the developer has submitted a report to the Federal Government indicating that they have a "satisfactory record of responsible environmental management" and they have never "been subject to any proceedings under a Commonwealth, State or Territory law for the protection of the environment".

This shows a pattern of behaviour in the owner/developer exemplifying their disinterest in and disrespect for the legislation covering protected species and vegetation in Australia.

We therefore humbly request the Federal Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities to reject the proposed redevelopment and prevent the unnecessary extinction of the Spotted-Tailed Quoll which may be the likely result.

We thank you for your time in reading this petition.

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