SNIFFER dog teams have joined the search for the endangered tiger quoll in the Grampians National Park.
The endangered animal was spotted in the region in October after it had not been seen for more than 140 years.
Parks Victoria ranger Ryan Duffy said after the sighting, staff were unsure how to proceed.
He said they soon heard about the team of conservationists with a dog program at Cape Otway and a perfect partnership was born.
“Looking for a quoll in the Grampians landscape is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” he said.
“You need to try every technique that’s available to you, and the conservation dog program brings a really unique tool to the table.”
Following the last confirmed quoll sighting in the Otways two years ago, the centre’s Lizzie Corke and Shayne Neal created a conservation dogs program.
Dogs are trained to sniff out quoll scat in the forest.
The program graduated its first five teams shortly after the Grampians quoll was discovered and, instead of heading into Cape Otway, the dogs were dispatched to the Grampians.
The Grampians deployment saw dogs scour land north of the Moora Moora Reservoir.
Dog trainer Luke Edwards said no quoll scat had been discovered yet, but the search was being called a success.
“If there was scat out there we’re 100 per cent confident we would have found it,” he said.
The quoll was spotted in the park again in February.
Grampians ranger in charge David Roberts said they were confident what they saw on the cameras was a healthy quoll.
In the video, the animal deftly navigated the narrow passage of a 15-metre-deep cave.
An apex predator, tiger quolls are the mainland’s equivalent to the Tasmanian Devil, but their numbers plummeted following the introduction of foxes and cats.
An aggressive fox-baiting program is in place in the area the quoll was photographed.