2 Sept 2022


Did you know there might be threatened wildlife living near you? Discover what animals need protection in your local area using WWF-Australia’s ‘My Backyard’ tool, and find out how well they’re being cared for.

Australia is home to many of the world’s most extraordinary animals. From the iconic wombat, famous for its cube-shaped poop, to the adorable but at times venomous platypus, our fascinating native wildlife is what makes us uniquely Australia.

But sadly, the survival of many of our native animals is under threat, with more than 550 at risk of being lost forever. They could be living in your backyard right now, and we want to ensure they stay there forever.

South East Queensland, famous for its subtropical climate, stunning beaches and lush rainforests, is home to many threatened wildlife. If you live around Brisbane, you might not have seen them yet, but they’re out there, in your local bushland, nature trails and wetlands.

Here are 7 threatened animals living around Brisbane.

Spotted-tail quoll or tiger quoll
Spotted-tail quoll or tiger quoll © Shutterstock / Craig Dingle / WWF

1. Spotted-tail quoll

Cat-sized, with reddish-brown fur and distinctive white spots, you’ll find spotted-tail quolls in South East Queensland’s forests and bushlands. They’re marsupials and skilled climbers, which comes in handy when scavenging for food at night. And did someone mention food? Spotted-tail quolls are avid carnivores who snack on birds, possums and small wallabies. But their taste for meat gets them in trouble with humans, especially when they steal domestic poultry. Once a regular night-time lurker across most of Australia, their population has dramatically declined as their habitat has been destroyed and predated by introduced species.

Recently spotted: True to their scavenging nature, a spotted-tail quoll was seen southwest of Brisbane at a picnic area in Main Range National Park.

Critically endangered regent honeyeater on a branch, Quorrobolong NSW
Critically endangered regent honeyeater on a branch, Quorrobolong NSW © Mick Roderick / BirdLife Australia

2. Regent Honeyeater

The clue is in the name – like bees, these black and yellow birds love nectar. They feast mostly on eucalyptus and mistletoe but won’t say no to an insect...or 10! In fact, as fledglings, they’re fed by their parents up to 29 times an hour. Regent honeyeaters are ingenious nest-builders and are most active when the eucalyptus is in bloom. But as their habitat has diminished, so has their population size, as they’re forced to compete for their beloved nectar, leaving them fighting for survival.

Recently spotted: A regent honeyeater was recently glimpsed at Enoggera Reservoir in Brisbane’s west. This was coined an “Olympic medal of birdwatching”, as it’s estimated there are just 400 left in the wild.

Mother koala with joey on her back
Mother koala with joey on her back © Shutterstock / Alizada Studios / WWF

3. Koala

When most people think of Australian wildlife, they’ll picture a cuddly-looking koala. These marsupials love to snooze, spending up to 20 hours a day getting their zzz’s in suburban Brisbane bushland. The rest of their time is spent eating eucalyptus leaves, but they’re notoriously picky eaters, foraging on just 50 out of the 700 eucalypt species, preferably the juiciest young leaves from the tops of the tallest trees. Only the best for koalas. Unfortunately, habitat destruction, disease, climate change and severe weather events all endanger the survival of this Aussie icon.

Recently spotted: Koalas have been seen in Mount Gravatt on Brisbane’s southside, just 20 minutes drive from the city centre.

The grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)
The grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) © Michal - stock.adobe.com

4. Grey-headed flying fox

Next time you’re out at night, look up, and you might spot a grey-headed flying fox. They’re one of the world’s largest bats, with white-speckled grey fur and a distinctive orange and brown collar. Grey-headed flying foxes take pride in their appearance and are constantly grooming and cleaning themselves. Flying fox roosts are like airports, busy with bats coming and going. They’re most active at night, flying out at dusk to feed on flowers and fruit and returning home at dawn to sleep. But habitat destruction and climate change are putting their survival at risk.

Recently spotted: Grey-headed flying foxes are found throughout Brisbane, with known colonies as close to the city centre as Indooroopilly and Norman Park.

Greater glider in a patch of old growth forest in Munruben, Logan City, south of Brisbane
Greater glider in a patch of old growth forest in Munruben, Logan City, south of Brisbane © Josh Bowell

5. Greater glider

Can you guess how greater gliders got their name? They’re really great at gliding! There are three species of greater glider, all with soft, shaggy fur but different in size, although females are generally bigger. Greater gliders were once abundant along Australia’s east coast. However, the destruction of their bushland homes from landclearing and logging, as well as bushfires fuelled by climate change, means over the last 20 years, their populations have diminished by as much as 80%, leaving them vulnerable to extinction.

Recently spotted: A greater glider was spied in the Logan surrounds, just 30 minutes south of Brisbane.

Northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus)
Northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) © © Jiri Lochman / Lochman LT

6. Northern quoll

The northern quoll is the smallest of the four Australian quolls. They might look innocent, but they pack a lot of attitude, as they’re also the most aggressive. Unlike many of Australia’s other famous marsupials, female northern quolls don’t have a pouch. They live in rocky areas and eucalypt forests, preferring to hide during the day. Although they’re good climbers, they spend most of their time foraging and sleeping on the ground. Worryingly, increasingly frequent bushfires are destroying their habitat, so we must improve national nature laws to protect them.

Be one of the few to spot one: Northern quolls are notoriously shy and nocturnal, so there are limited recorded sightings of them in Brisbane. Head to the bushland of Brisbane’s northern suburbs to increase your chances.

Australasian bittern
Australasian bittern © Shutterstock / Imogen Warren / WWF

7. Australasian bittern

If you’re near Brisbane’s wetlands, you’ll need to look closely to spot an Australasian bittern. These heron-like birds are nocturnal and pros at camouflage. When they’re not feeding on eels, freshwater crustaceans, frogs and insects, they’ve even been known to blend in by swaying in time with reeds. Start by listening for them, as they have a distinctive, booming call that’s earned them the nickname ‘bunyip bird’. But to keep their call echoing forever, we must take action for their survival and preserve their wetland home.

Be one of the few to spot one: There are limited recorded sightings of Australiasian bitterns in Brisbane. Get out to Brisbane’s wetlands, and you could be one of the lucky ones.

Curious what other threatened animals could be living in your backyard? Explore WWF-Australia’s ‘My Backyard’ tool to learn what wildlife makes their home near you and how you can help them thrive again.