Nest boxes prove to be home sweet home for sugar gliders

Endangered species such as brush-tailed phascogales are using nest boxes installed in the Whroo Goldfields Conservation Management Network (WG CMN) region resulting in increasing numbers, recent monitoring shows.
Sugar gliders
Brush-tailed phascogales

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) CMN Co-ordinator Janice Mentiplay-Smith said since 2009 more than 800 nest boxes had been installed on public and private land as part of the WG CMN’s 1000 Hollows Project.

“The nest boxes are being installed where there is a lack of the hollow-bearing trees that the native species such as sugar gliders and brush-tailed phascogales need to shelter and breed,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“Each year, WG CMN president Orlando Talamo carries out surveys to find whether populations of these threatened species are moving into areas where they had not been recorded before.”

Use of the nest boxes increased to 59 per cent this year up from 51 per cent last year. 

“We have also seen plenty of evidence of a sugar gliders occupying phascogale nests and vice versa, which is probably an indication of the pressure on tree hollow ‘real estate’,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

A photograph of a pair of breeding phascogales was also captured during monitoring.

“A photo like this is a real rarity and great news for the future of brush-tailed phascogale in this area.”

The project recently received a welcome boost with Costerfield mining company Mandalay Resources donating  $5,000 a year for the next three years to WG CMN to help the group build, repair, install and monitor more nest boxes. 

“We really appreciate the ongoing support of the mine, which has been on board with this project since 2009,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.  “This funding will go a long way to helping us achieve our goal of 1000 nest boxes hopefully by the end of 2017.

“We’d also like to thank the local landholders who have installed nest boxes on their property and acknowledge Orlando for his ongoing monitoring efforts that provide the valuable data that shows just how effective this project is.”

To find out more about the WG CMN 1000 Hollows Project, contact Janice Mentiplay-Smith on 5822 7700 or janicem@gbcma.vic.gov.au

The 1000 Hollows Project is supported by the Goulburn Broken CMA through part funding from the Victorian Government’s Communities for Nature Program.