Meet a rare Tuncurry island hopper

 A still from the video footage taken by Council's motion detector cameras on Gereeba Island, of a brush-tailed phascogale.
A still from the video footage taken by Council’s motion detector cameras on Gereeba Island, of a brush-tailed phascogale.

MidCoast Council has been working hard to restore natural ecosystems on Wallis Lake islands for many years now and this week made an exciting discovery on Gereeba Island near Tuncurry.

Council’s Natural Systems staff took some great footage on a motion sensor camera of a brush-tailed phascogale (common Aboriginal name ‘tuan’) going about his business during the night.

“We have only observed this species once on the island – when a fox was captured on camera with a killed phascogale in its mouth” said Council’s Senior Ecologist, Mat Bell.

“We didn’t expect to see phascogales on this site; as it is mainly swamp oak forest and other estuarine wetland – not the phascogale’s usual habitat.

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“We have now erected nesting boxes on site to assist this endangered species and our continued efforts to control feral animals like foxes will reduce the major threat to phascogales on the island” said Mat Bell.

The brush-tailed phascogale is about the size of a rat and is quite unknown by most Australians – and there are some surprising facts about these critters you might not know.

For example, they are the largest animal in Australia that has annual male die-off.  All males die at 10 – 12 months of age after the breeding season.  This strategy means that young can move into unoccupied territories easily, but it also leaves the species highly susceptible to local extinction, if breeding in any one year fails.

If you would like to watch the video footage of the Gereeba Island brush-tailed phascogale, please visit:

https://youtu.be/8OUBBcNujgA

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