Regionally-extinct for 60 years, the Eastern Quoll returns to Victoria

Welcome back to the Eastern Quoll

In July 2002 our friends at the Odonata Foundation celebrated a very special moment – the reintroduction to Victoria of the Eastern Quoll.

Classified as regionally extinct for almost 60 years, the “fiercely cute” quoll was wiped out due to predation by cats and foxes. It was also targeted by farmers as a predator of domestic chickens.

A captive breeding and research program has been underway at Odonata’s core sanctuary, Mt Rothwell, since 2002 but this is the first time the quoll has been released back into the wild.

The release site was Odanata’s 1,000-hectare Tiverton property in western Victoria, where a large group of scientists and observers were there to witness the moment, which was filmed and published by the ABC in this great news story.  

Photo with thanks to Pursuedbybe via Flickr.

A new SEASON for our threatened species

Carbon Landscapes co-founder Dr Steve Enticott (front) with Odanata team members in the field.

World-first initiative engages private landholders in species protection

In our day-to-day work, we’re fortunate to meet lots of positive and inspiring leaders, many of whom share similar ideas on where we think Australia can make the greatest gains in regenerating landscapes and protecting our native plants and animals.

Among them is Dr Steve Enticott, a well-known and regarded business coach and accountant who co-founded Carbon Landscapes to achieve lasting change through private land conservation.

Carbon Landscapes’ focuses on designing and implementing projects that achieve real impact on the ground, such as improving river health, establishing strategic wildlife corridors and creating refugia for wildlife.

World-first initiative

In June 2022, Steve and his team contributed to what is believed to be a world-first initiative – the South-East Australia Sanctuary Operations Network, or SEASON, launched by Odonata Mt Rothwell..

SEASON has ambitious plans to establish 30 privately-owned and funded wildlife sanctuaries to save 30 species by 2030. This will be achieved by bringing scientists, landholders, farmers and entrepreneurs together throughout Victoria.

The team is working closely with respected, environmental not-for-profit organisation Odonata Mt Rothwell, a hugely successful private wildlife sanctuary 50k from Melbourne. Odonata will coordinate the SEASON program, funded by World Wide Fund for Nature Australia, with Carbon Landscapes involved in onboarding and mentoring landholders.

SEASON will not only focus on protecting threatened species, such as the Eastern Quoll, Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Southern Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby, Bush Stone Curlew, Eastern Bettong and Southern Brown Bandicoot, but on unlocking natural capital opportunities around eco-tourism, carbon offsets and regenerative land use.

The concept has already attracted interest from owners of more than 70 parcels of land in Victoria. Read more about SEASON HERE.

63 species to save by 2041

These species need our help – now

Researchers from the Charles Darwin University and the University of Canberra have identified 63 Australian birds, mammals, fish, frogs and reptiles most likely to become extinct in the next 20 years.

With a strong sense of irony, the research team begin their Conversation article, which is linked to their Biological Conservation paper, with the line, “It feels a bit strange to publish a paper that we want to be wrong”.


From a sense of amusement to despair, the authors say that the only way to address Australia’s  “abysmal” extinction record is to ensure we have an accurate record of the species most at risk. They studied birds and mammals first, followed by fish, reptiles and frogs.
Sadly, there are no recent confirmed records of the continued existence of five reptile, four bird, four frog, two mammal and one fish species.
There’s a lot to digest and accept in this report, which draws on the expertise of ecologists and environmental organisations around Australia to make its conclusions.  

Backing private conservation action

The Rendere Trust supports the  establishment of new association for land covenantors

Private land conservation is increasingly being recognised as the missing link in connecting (or reconnecting) habitats, landscapes and communities.

In Victoria, for example, the State Government has plans to restore 200,000 hectares of private land for conservation and in 2022 directed $31m towards organisations such as Trust for Nature to implement a BushBank scheme.

Victorians have, in fact, been covenanting land since the 1970s, with around 1,500 landholders already protecting their land in-perpetuity.

In 2021, the Rendere Trust decided to support these active protectors by funding the establishment of a new association dedicated to supporting landholders and growing the number of covenantors in Victoria.

Launched early in 2022 Land Covenantors Victoria’s (LCV) agenda focuses on raising awareness of the value of private land conservation, expanding the area of land managed under perpetual agreements, increasing the allocation of resources directed to conservation and lobbying local, state and federal government agencies for better tax and other incentives – settings that it hopes will encourage others to follow this path.

If you’re considering placing a covenant on your land (or know someone who is), please sign up as an LCV member or ‘friend’ and get behind the private land conservation movement.

Unlocking the economic benefits of local oyster farming

Gippsland Lakes photo with thanks to Gerard via Flickr.

Using Indigenous knowledge to bring native oysters back to Gippsland

As Gippsland locals, we’re thrilled to hear that the Victorian Fisheries Authority has entered into a three-year partnership with our friends at the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLWAC) to re-establish oyster farming in the Gippsland Lakes.

Consumed by First Nations people for thousands of years and native to the area, overfishing and dredging almost wiped the local Sydney rock and angasi oyster out.

The team are now testing the viability, growth rates and eating qualities of newly-embedded oyster beds with the ambition of re-creating an oyster industry producing up to 30 tonnes of oysters each year.

As noted in this The Age news story (first story free, then paywalled) oyster production not only has economic and cultural benefits, but encourages good environmental outcomes, as oysters effectively filter water quality. Read the press release HERE.

Celebrating a decade of environmental impact

One person can make a real difference in the world

We want to offer our hearty congratulations to the Nature Glenelg Trust, which recently celebrated its 10th birthday.

The story behind this highly successful not-for-profit, which has grown from a handful of people with complementary skills, is truly remarkable.

The driving force behind the Trust is Mark Bachmann, an ecologist who worked for the South Australian Government for many years, specialising in small mammal ecology.

While at an international conference, Mark had a light bulb moment – that responsibility for protecting and restoring the environment did not rest with government alone; that he could be just as successful and perhaps achieve even more if he brought specialists together in a new science-based environmental organisation.

Initially focused on areas between South Australia and Victoria, the Trust now works across four states, runs a native plant nursery, undertakes threatened species research and recovery projects and has undertaken restoration works at more than 50 wetlands. Supporter funds have also enabled the Trust to purchase several important properties (one of which was profiled in this ABC story).

We look forward to continuing our work with the Trust over the next 10 years and offer our sincere congratulations.

Mark shares the inspiring story behind the establishment of the Nature Glenelg Trust in this compelling 50-minute presentation. Switch Netflix off and immerse yourself in this great story! 

Sea to Summit walk to connect tourists to the East Gippsland wilderness

Report shows strong support for Sea to Summit nature walk in East Gippsland

In 2018, the Victorian Government committed $1.5 million to plan a 120km nature trail linking the East Gippsland wilderness to the coast. While those plans were being made, the 2019/20 bushfires tore through the area burning over 1.1 million hectares of forest, decimating thousands of homes and jobs along the way.

The walk, proposed by Emerald Link with the support of the Goongerah Environment Centre and Wilderness Society, aims to link the environment to the economy and, in doing so, protect “the last unbroken forest wilderness areas on mainland Australia”.

Fortunately, the government continued the planning process throughout 2021, conducting comprehensive market research on the viability of the walk, which winds down from the Errinundra National Park to the Cape Conran Coastal Park.

In February 2022, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio released initial findings on the viability of the walk and what the researchers found by surveying walkers and focus groups. In summary, it seems that a 4-5 day experience is most likely to appeal to visitors.

We look forward to seeing how the project progresses, viewing it as a valuable contributor to the Government’s Biodiversity 2037 plan and associated Victorians Valuing Nature initiatives.

Protecting a South Gippsland icon, the Strzelecki koala.

Saving a much beloved neighbour

The Strzelecki Koala is Victoria’s only endemic koala species and a Gippsland local who we’re encouraging back onto Country via our EcoGipps venture.

According to Friends of the Earth Melbourne (FoEM) having healthy populations of the Strzelecki Koala is not only important for the region, but for the species as a whole, as genetic diversity is critical.

FoEM is leading efforts to protect the koala and safeguard populations more generally. It has developed a dynamic map of populations and is running a range of innovative programs to raise awareness and encourage citizen science (learn more here). 

Meanwhile in Alberton West

The Rendere Trust is also taking an active interest and role in protecting koala habitat by supporting efforts to save the Alberton West State Forest (near Yarram) from logging by VicForests.

The remnant bushland is home to many threatened species including the Strzelecki Koala, Powerful Owl, Greater Gliders and the Lace Monitor.

Here again, FoEM is leading the charge by calling for greater change against Vicforest and forestry industry standards.

First Nations edition a first for Gippslandia

Paying our respects in print

We all want to hear stories and be engaged in conversations about the cultural connection that Traditional Owners have with the lands on which we walk. But it can be hard to find information and/or ask questions that we’re not sure we should be asking.

The editorial team at Gippslandia – a boundary-pushing local newspaper that connects Gippslanders through positive storytelling – have engaged in a deep listening exercise with the Kurnai Traditional Owners to produce a remarkable special edition to coincide with its fifth birthday.

The 60-page publication (Gippslandia #21) took over 12-months to produce and does a fantastic job explaining the history, culture, beliefs and environment of the Gunaikurnai people and their connection to Country. It fully engages with Elders and covers some of the initiatives that they, their children and grandchildren are embarking on now and into the future.

Because the editorial team have gone in with an open heart and mind, they have managed to reveal some vitally-important information on the history and beliefs of the region from a Kurnai  perspective. We particularly benefited from reading about the five major clans that form the Kurnai Nation across the Gippsland region. Great also to see the involvement of our friends at the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation.

Kudos all ’round for a truly remarkable edition.

Gunaikurnai announce significant purchase of traditional lands

Getting back onto Country

We are delighted to learn that our friends at the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) have purchased 103 hectares on the Yanakie Isthmus in South Gippsland.

The property is just 500 metres from the entrance to Yirak Wamoon (Wilson’s Promontory National Park) which, in an unrelated announcement, was recently granted $23M for the establishment of a biodiversity sanctuary to protect vulnerable species.

The video at right explains the history and context of the GLaWAC purchase and the economic independence and cultural healing it will bring.

The site has high biodiversity values thanks to the fact that the previous owner invested a significant amount of time, money and energy into restoring the wetland facing Corner Inlet. These revegetation efforts have attracted water and shore birds, with the team at GLaWAC likely to advance these efforts further.

Huge congratulations to the team. We look forward to learning more about the vision and planned activities.