Quoll doco to shed light on ‘farm friend’

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - PA­TRICK GEE

WILDLIFE ex­pert and film maker Si­mon Plowright will spend the next year liv­ing with a thriv­ing eastern quoll pop­u­la­tion on an aban­doned farm in a se­cret East Coast lo­ca­tion.

It will all be the sub­ject of a self-writ­ten and di­rected TV doc­u­men­tary called Quoll

Farm, which is to be broad­cast across four con­ti­nents.

Mr Plowright and the doc­u­men­tary’s pro­ducer and cine­matog­ra­pher, Nick Hay­ward, were praised for their work film­ing Tas­ma­nian devils in their dens for David At­ten­bor­ough’s 2018 tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary Tas­ma­nia.

The pair run Tas­ma­nian film com­pany Wild Crea­ture Films.

Mr Plowright also works as an en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tant and is the for­mer owner of the East Coast Na­ture­world wildlife sanc­tu­ary.

He said he has al­ways wanted to learn more about the eastern quoll.

“So I moved to Bicheno eight years ago,” he said.

“I set about try­ing to find a good lo­ca­tion for eastern quolls in the wild. I found an amaz­ing place — a farm that’s been de­serted for 18 years.

“There’s rocky crags and amaz­ing forests that span as far as the eye can see. The wild feel­ing of it is quite out­stand­ing.”

Mr Plowright said there were “amaz­ing num­bers” of the pro­tected and en­dan­gered quolls on the fer­tile 300ha prop­erty.

Feral species, loss of fer­tile habi­tat through drought, en­croach­ing hu­man pop­u­la­tion and hu­man ac­tiv­ity in­clud­ing farm­ing and roads are all threats to the an­i­mals. Mr Plowright hoped Quoll

Farm could help change the rep­u­ta­tion of quolls as “chicken killers” and prove they can be a “farmer’s best friend” as they feed on pas­ture pests in­clud­ing in­sects, mice, rats and rab­bits.

“It’s sim­ple, fence your chick­ens and look after our wildlife. Stop per­se­cut­ing it.

“This an­i­mal is ac­tu­ally an as­set. It can live with farm­ers and ac­tu­ally help their pro­duc­tion.

“Eastern quolls are a small, del­i­cate species which hunts quite dif­fer­ently [to spot­ted tail quolls] and they get per­se­cuted the same way.”

Screen Aus­tralia an­nounced last week it con­trib­uted to­wards the fund­ing of the 52-minute doc­u­men­tary through its Doc­u­men­tary Pro­ducer Pro­gram.

Seven doc­u­men­tary projects shared in $2 mil­lion fund­ing from the pro­gram this year na­tion­wide.

Smith­so­nian chan­nel con­trib­uted 33 per cent of the project’s to­tal cost for broad­cast­ing rights in the UK and the US.

Screen Tas­ma­nia con­trib­uted more than $9450 to the project.

The ABC owns the broad­cast­ing rights in Aus­tralia. The broad­cast­ing rights for Ja­pan, and for France and Ger­many, have also been bought.

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