Red-tailed phascogales returned to the wild - National Tree Day Blog

Red-tailed phascogales returned to the wild

Thanks to a joint conservation effort, the red-tailed phascogale has crossed the border to a predator-free refuge in the hope they will thrive.

The red-tailed phascogale is a small, grey coloured carnivorous marsupial with a distinctive reddish-brown bushy tail. They are one of the three members of the phascogale genus, the others being the brush-tailed phascogale and northern brush-tailed phascogale. The red-tailed phascogale’s scientific name is Phascogale calura, meaning “beautiful-tailed pouched-weasel" – accurate. Fun fact: these tiny creatures can leap up to two metres between tree canopies and their joeys are the size of a jellybean.

The species was once widespread throughout the southern half of Australia but predation by feral cats, foxes, habitat loss and a shortage of suitable nesting hollows has contributed to their decline. The species is restricted to the south-west of Western Australia and remnant patches of bushland in the Wheatbelt Region.

Thanks to a joint conservation effort by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Adelaide Zoo, fourteen locally extinct red-tailed phascogales have been reintroduced to Mallee Cliffs National Park in western New South Wales.

“The Mallee Cliffs National Park feral predator free area is aiming to raise around 1,660 individuals which will increase the nationwide population of red-tailed phascogales by nearly 20 per cent,” NSW National Parks and Wildlife Area Manager, Jo Gorman told AWC.

The 12 females and two males have been added to the population of 60 released into the national park in November 2021. They were released at night into nest boxes in the fenced feral predator-free refuge at Mallee Cliffs on 30 March 2022.

They were fitted with tracking collars which will be used to monitor the transition to their new environment.

The phascogale is the eighth mammal listed as extinct in NSW that has been returned to NSW national parks in the past three years.

“Within a few years, we hope to remove at least 10 mammals from the NSW extinct list – the first time that will have happened anywhere in the world,” Environment Minister James Griffin told AWC.

Read the full story here.

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.

Jennifer McMillan

Jen worked as a vet nurse while studying environmental science and completing her master's degree in Journalism. She loves bushwalking, storytelling, caring for baby animals, Australian birds and river red gums. Jen works on the National Tree Day and National Recycling Week campaigns.