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Elusive critter finally caught on camera

Bush Heritage Australia has marked a milestone after capturing a chuditch on camera for the first time in the region.

For more than 10 years there have been about 30 cameras set up in the Stirling Range and Fitzgerald River National Parks monitoring wallaby activity.

When cameras were brought in last week, ecologists had to do a double take on an image taken in September which proved the animal inhabited the region.

Commonly known as the western quoll, the small carnivorous marsupial is extremely rare, with only 15,000 believed to exist in the wild.

Until now. there has been no proof, other than unofficial sightings, that the animal is still in the Great Southern.

Bush Heritage Australia ecologist Angela Sanders said they would be installing more cameras in the near future.

“We can’t tell if it’s a male or female in the photo but it was certainly very interested in the bait we had set up in front of the camera for wallabies,” she said.

“We have sparse records of people who took photos of them in their chook pens but that was a few years ago.

“This is a very exciting discovery, and we will definitely be putting more cameras out there to try and find some more.”

The nocturnal animal is identified by white spots on its back and a pointed face.

“We aren’t sure why they are so rare in this area, but we think it might be because of cats and foxes,” Ms Sanders said.

“The clearing of bush for farm land might be another reason.”

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