BBC News has reported that for the first time in 50 years, eastern quolls have been born in the wild in Australia. The rare marsupials are native to Australia, but their population in the wild was devastated by disease and foxes.

The eastern quolls were able to make a comeback after scientists from New South Wales successfully reintroduced the species from a wildlife sanctuary in Tasmania to Australia in March. Of the 20 marsupials that are being monitored, scientists have been able to confirm that three females are carrying a total of 15 joeys, or eastern quoll babies, in their pouches. The babies are approximately the size of jelly beans and will grow to be the size of house cats.

Rob Brewster, the director of Rewilding Australia, told ABC that a mother quoll can carry up to six babies, so five each is a huge mark of success toward their reintroduction into the wild.

The eastern quolls were nearly driven to extinction

The animals were released into the Booderee National Park. A natural resource manager of the park, Nick Dexter, expressed hope for the species' continuing survival. "There remains challenges ahead to establish a sustainable population, but to have thirty percent of the female quolls produce pouch young from this pilot project is a move in the right direction,[sic]" he said in a statement reported by the BBC.

The last eastern quoll sighting in Australia was in Vaucluse during the 1960s. The animal is considered an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The program took 15 years to see through

Buzzfeed reported that the eastern quoll reintroduction program is a collaborative effort between WWF, Parks Australia, ANU, and Rewilding Australia.

More eastern quolls are expected to arrive in Booderee National Park in the spring of 2019.

The program first started 15 years ago, when efforts were made to reduce the number of foxes in the park. Dexter told Buzzfeed that they will now try to reduce the fox population throughout the Jervis Bay area of Australia in an attempt to nurture a sustainable wild eastern quoll population. The species has a high mortality rate due to predators, but they also have a short natural life-span of only up to three years.

The BBC reported that reintroduction programs, or "rewilding programs", are a growing trend to save animal species around the world. Environmentalist Tim Flannery of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) told the BBC that Australia has the worst mammal extinction record in the world and that New South Wales and AWC plans on reintroducing several endangered species back to the continent.