It is not every day that a Spotted-tailed quoll, also known as a tiger quoll, is rescued by the local wildlife group in the Snowy Mountains.
In fact, the current LAOKO (Looking After Our Kosciusko Orphans / Snowy Mountains Wildlife Rescue) animal co-ordinators, with many years' of wildlife experience, had never seen a quoll in the wild, let alone rescue and care for one.
Two of the animal co-ordinators, Kelly McMahon and Kylie Clifford, were quite excited when the call came in about a quoll found at Thredbo in early May this year.
Mrs McMahon, said the quoll, who was named 'Pepper' was first assessed by local vet Dr Peter Brennan.
"He was malnourished, underweight, and had bites all over his head and body," Mrs McMahon said.
"Poor thing, he was very weak, ravenous and thirsty. He weighed 1.6 kilograms and is a sub-adult," she said.
Kylie Clifford said she and Kelly were very excited to see a quoll in the flesh and follow its progress.
"Pepper is the first quoll to come into LAOKO, ever," Mrs Clifford said.
"It has been a steep learning curve with lots of different people all working together over nearly five months, to get Pepper well and back to the bush."
It was a real team effort from rescue to release, with a number of experienced carers, experts and organisations involved including; the local vet Dr Peter Brennan, LAOKO founding member, Irene Kopievsky who cared for Pepper under her individual wildlife licence for three months, a second experienced carer, who prepared Pepper for release, reducing human contact in an outside enclosure, wildlife vets Dr Hamish Cameron and Dr Arianne Lowe, NSW Department of Primary Industries quoll expert, Dr Andrew Claridge, National Parks and Wildlife Services endangered species officers, LAOKO animal co-ordinators, Kelly McMahon and Kylie Clifford and Elena Guarracino.
Listed as vulnerable, the Spotted-tailed quoll is about the size of a domestic cat. The average weight of an adult male is about 3 kilograms, with adult females averaging around 1.5-2 kilograms. They live for up to five years.
Male quolls can travel many kilometres and have a range of around 1,000 to 3,000 hectares. Pepper was well out of his range when found at Thredbo and would not have survived if not found and taken into care.
LAOKO animal co-ordinators said they are very grateful for the advice and help of everyone involved.