Nature Conservation Council says Thanks – as do the new homeowners!
23 August 2021
I’m writing to say thank you. After the 2019-2020 Bushfire season destroyed the homes of millions of wildlife, we knew we needed to step in and do something – and so did you!
Early into 2020, the Nature Conservation Council launched a crowd-funded campaign ‘Gimme shelter’ as a response to provide nest boxes for fauna including gliders, possums, and other arboreal mammals. The response was far beyond our expectations – more than five times our initial target was raised. Several properties sourced additional funding and we were able to assist installing those boxes as well.
This allowed us to purchase approximately 370 nest boxes for installation.
During autumn and winter 2020, we went into action and installed 220 boxes on 19 properties across the fire affected Richmond and Clarence catchments. Box sizes and styles were selected to benefit a range of arboreal mammal and glider species found in our study area.
Since then, our Large Forest Owls Project Coordinator Pete Knock has been busy monitoring 171 of the 220 nest boxes. Pete uses a mixture of acoustic and visual monitoring to find out if any of these arboreal mammals are using the boxes for shelter and/or nesting. As you can see, there are piles of leaves inside the boxes, indicating use from our furry friends! If you would like to see a full breakdown of the monitoring process and results, head on over to our Instagram.
Now almost a year later, we wanted to update you with the success of the project.
As of last week, 129 boxes contained evidence of use, with promising but variable monitoring results over the winter. Some sites showed signs of up to 80% use since installation and others no occupation signs as yet.
Squirrel Gliders were the most prevalent species prior to the fire and happily seem to be experiencing a positive response to good rainfall this summer. Of the 38 Squirrel Gliders observed some included dependent juveniles (joey’s) which shows evidence of breeding!
We knew it wouldn’t all be good news though following such catastrophic fire events. Currently, we are very concerned about Yellow-bellied Gliders as they still haven’t been detected using nest boxes or by our acoustic monitoring.
The Large Forest Owls team will continue to install the remaining boxes this winter and monitor last year’s boxes, with a further 90 boxes being installed this month. We will also likely expand acoustic monitoring in particular for Yellow-bellied Glider to determine if they are still present at previously recorded sites.
We still have lots more to do to ascertain the longer-term impacts of the spring-summer 2019-2020 fire season, and we hope to keep doing our part. If you want to see more fluffy updates on our nest box program, follow our Instagram @naturensw!
Of course, none of this would be possible without your support. So, on behalf of us and our friends making nests, we want to sincerely thank you for your overwhelming generosity.
If you’d like to contribute to the nest box program, please visit the donations page.
Healthy Ecosystems Program Coordinator
Nature Conservation Council