Quoll doco to shed light on ‘farm friend’
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.