Quenda, quenda, quenda!
Bossa nova pop serenade? Latin American rally cry? Grain-like superfood available in the health food aisle of your supermarket?
Might sound like it, but a quenda is none of those. It’s the name of a native Australian mammal that urgently needs our help.
Also known as the southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus fusciventer), quendas are native mammals about the size of a rabbit with brown to yellow-brown fur, a long pointed nose, very short ears and a short tail.
Occasionally mistaken for large rats, they’re really quite distinct if you look just a little bit closer – their large hindquarters and short tail are a good giveaway!
Active during the day and at night, though best seen at dawn or dusk, these little guys prefer to live near waterways where dense low vegetation persists.
Once plentiful, their numbers have fallen significantly since the 1960s due to habitat loss (through urban expansion and clearing), vehicle strikes and predators such as foxes, cats and dogs. But while their Eastern cousins have all but disappeared from cities in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, quendas are still living in and around Perth.
The search is on
Knowledge is key – so if we want to help them we need to know more about them.
Recently the Department of Environment and Conservation and WWF-Australia launched a community survey to locate populations of the quenda living in the greater Perth region. If we find out where quendas are currently living, we can compare this with previous surveys and work out if their numbers are changing.
How you can help
This is a community survey and we’re calling on local residents right across southern WA, though particularly in and around Perth, to report sightings.
We need location details (GPS, Google map or street location), the date on which the quenda (or quendas!) were seen and an estimate of how many were present. We’re also interested in noting family groups with young quendas. A photo to confirm the sighting would be ideal.
Please forward the details to:
• DEC Swan Region Ecologist Geoff Barrett at email@example.com or phone (08) 9423 2907; or
• WWF-Australia Species Conservation Manager Katherine Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (08) 9442 1203
Quenda, quenda, quenda!
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