Skip to content

Huddled up in new homes

Published 21 Sep 2014 

Like coiled springs, red-tailed phascogales leap from tree to tree, darting around nervously and always alert.

This small carnivorous marsupial is limited in range to the West Australian wheatbelt and on our Kojonup Reserve a translocated population has settled in to one of the largest intact remnants of wandoo woodland – ideal habitat – in the area.

A huddle of phascogales. Photo by Maureen Francesconi.

In partnership with the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife, we moved 30 individuals to the reserve over the course of two years beginning in 2010. Around 30 nest boxes were also erected to keep them safe.

“This is our fourth year of monitoring the translocated population and they’re doing well,” explains Bush Heritage ecologist Angela Sanders.

“We recorded at least 12 animals in Elliott traps and artificial nest boxes, which indicates a stable population has established.”

All the animals picked up in monitoring would be second or third generation born at Kojonup. The males compete frantically for females and the stress of mating results in their death after each breeding season  at around 11 months. Females can live up to three years, having up to six young each year.

“They make a large ball nest inside the box out of wool, sticks, leaves and feathers, often raiding other nest boxes for material,” says Angela. “Some of the nests now fill the whole nest box.

Angela Sanders supervises as volunteers set up a new nesting box. Photo by Maureen Francesconi.

Recently the South West Catchments Council provided $30,000, through the Inland Linkages Project, to enhancing phascogale habitat. Now 30 new nest boxes have been added and some 500 sheoak trees planted and fenced off to exclude grazing kangaroos and rabbits.

This funding injection also added some sophistication to ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

“It will be fascinating to use small video cameras later this year to see the comings and goings of the females and young.”

More from BushTracks Spring 2014

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2014

A focal point in the Fitz-Stirling

After ‘coveting’ Monjebup Creek as a potential reserve for years, our team in Western Australia has finally got their hands on it. Now the long wait is over they’re wasting no time getting plans for the property underway.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2014

Every chance

Inside an aquarium on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is a tank of tiny freshwater fish that holds special significance for conservation in Australia.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2014

Gunduwa Young Leaders

Under the guidance of local Aboriginal leader Ashley Bell from Ninghan Station, young people from rural towns in Midwest Western Australia have been learning about the cultural heritage and conservation values of the area on our Charles Darwin Reserve.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2014

New species at Naree

One weekend’s work by our highly skilled visitors resulted in more than 100 new plants being added to the species list at Naree Station Reserve in outback NSW – bringing the new total to around 285 species so far.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2014

Nic and Finney’s annual adventure

Nicky Rolls, together with her friend Saraan Finney, have volunteered on a Bush Heritage Australia reserve each year since 2007. They spent this year at Bon Bon Reserve in South Australia’s arid rangelands.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2014

Remembered in nature

Supporters Alan and Saxon Condon had very special connections with the land, and since their passing – both at age 93 – their eldest daughter, Honour, has remembered them through nature and the places they loved.

Read More
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}