A family of northern quolls have made it home after an accidental 5,600km return journey to Victoria.
The five endangered marsupials – a mother and her four dependent babies – were found in a box of pumpkins at a Melbourne Wholesale Market on December 13, 2022.
It’s believed the quolls got in the box at a Far North Queensland farm and were accidentally shipped down south with other cartons of vegetables.
After the stowaways were discovered, the quolls were taken to Melbourne Zoo and receive care from veterinary staff.
While the quolls were recovering from their travels, Conservation Regulator Forest and Wildlife Officers identified their original location near Cairns in Far North Queensland.
Once the quolls were deemed healthy and ready for release and were flown back to Queensland on January 5.
Department of Environment and Science (DES) wildlife officers collected the small animals from Cairns airport that evening and transported them to the Tablelands, where a vet once again assessed their health.
After getting the all-clear, DES wildlife officers successfully released the quolls back to their natural habitat that night.
Image: Department of Environment and Science