Friends of Brisbane Ranges: Empowering Students and Saving Phascogales

Friends of Brisbane Ranges: Empowering Students and Saving Phascogales

Under the cover of darkness a small, furry animal emerges from the hollow of a eucalypt. It has a pointed nose, keen eyes, and – to quote Colin Cook, the president of the Friends of Brisbane Ranges – ‘a tail like a dunny brush’. It is a Brush-tailed Phascogale.

Few people have heard of the Brisbane Ranges, let alone been there. This small national park to the west of Melbourne is easy to miss on a map, and given its obscurity it is perhaps fitting that the park be a stronghold for this equally obscure marsupial. Phascogales – or Tuans – have suffered heavily from the introduction of exotic predators and habitat fragmentation. So, when a fire raged through one of their remaining refuges in 2006 the local friends group were quick to realise the severity of the situation. Phascogales need hollows – both to breed in and to use for shelter – but this intense bushfire had suddenly made hollow-bearing trees a real rarity.

The solution was easy enough in theory: get some funding and build some nest-boxes to replace lost hollows. But a small friends group would take a long time and a lot of late nights to build enough nest-boxes to make a difference to the phascogale’s plight. Fortunately, the VCAL students of Wyndham Central College were up to the challenge. These teens have fallen in love with this little-known park and its furry inhabitants, becoming a class of Community Conservationists and building more than 70 nest-boxes to help the phascogale.

Remember The Wild

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There is 1 comment on this post
  1. Lawrence
    March 07, 2018, 4:14 pm

    Getting young people engaged in practical activities that directly impact native animal and floral species is essential if we are to have ambassadors going forward. Anyone can be really useful, anyone. Installing a nest box, planting a tree, removing noxious weeds. Stopping fires starting in the first place. Every action helps and is worthwhile. The brush-tailed Phascogale needs help and Friends of Brisbane Ranges are delivering. Amazingly well done crew!

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