The red-tailed phascogale is now found only in one small area in the southwestern corner of Western Australia, but used to be common all over Australia. It is one of the few Australian marsupials without a pouch and grows to between 240 and 270 mm long, with soft, grey fur on its upper body with creamy fur underneath. It has a long tail with a bushy tip. The upper part of the tail is red, and this gives the animal its name.
The phascogale is awake and active at night and asleep through the heat of the day. They shelter during the day in a tree hollow lined with leaves.
A male often dies soon after mating. Females give birth to 6-8 young about a month after mating. Females have one litter a year. Young are kept in a nest. They are weaned, which means they stop feeding on their mother's milk, at 20 weeks of age. Females live for about 4 years.
A local farmer group at Narembeen (The Wadderin Group) and Wildlife Research and Management are working together to create a fox- and cat-free sanctuary for native species.† This is an important project because it is community-based and is in an area of the wheatbelt where there is little remaining bushland, few reserves, and no key Department of Environment and Conservation reserves.
The community of farmers at Narembeen (with strong links to their local Shire of Narembeen) are in the process of reconstructing the original fauna of the central wheatbelt of Western Australia at their local reserve.† Narembeen, like much of the wheatbelt, has been intensively cleared, but islands of habitat persist.† Wadderin is one such habitat island.† It is a water reserve that is centred around a collection of granite outcrops that have been utilized as a catchment to harvest water for the local town.† The community group has negotiated a long-term lease on the reserve with the Water Authority and are seeking to transfer the tenure to the Shire to formalise its role as a faunal sanctuary.
The goal is to create a fox- and cat-free sanctuary to allow the re-establishment of a suite of threatened mammals that formerly occurred there.† A secondary goal is to provide ecotourism opportunities for the local community. Wildlife Research and Management is working in partnership with the community group to reintroduce threatened species.
Our initial priorities are to reintroduce Red-tailed Phascogale Phascogale calura (listed nationally as Endangered) and the Bilby Macrotis lagotis (Vulnerable).† Future species might include Western Barred Bandicoot (Endangered), Brush-tailed Possum, Burrowing Bettong (Endangered), Western Brush Wallaby (local endemic), Mala (Endangered), and Black-flanked Rock-wallaby (Vulnerable).
Wadderin Sanctuary is 520 ha in area and is a mixture of granite outcrop, Salmon gum, York gum and rock oak woodland, with areas of mallee and shrubland also.† The community has just completed construction of the 11.5 km predator-proof fence around the Sanctuary.
The group unilaterally conceived the project in 2005 and subsequently sourced funding from Lotterywest for fencing materials. They have put in an enormous effort to get the project this far and much of the hardest work (fence construction) is now over.† Wildlife Research and Management has been working in partnership with the group since early 2007 to source additional funds for management and for reintroductions.† They will provide the expertise for predator control, species reintroduction and monitoring, and liaison with government agencies.
The Bilby is also a good candidate for reintroduction:
The objective of the project is to create a fox- and cat-free Sanctuary for the conservation of threatened native mammals in the central wheatbelt of Western Australia.
Exetel is donating $5,000.00 per month to pay for the building materials and fencing contractors to complete and then maintain the exclusion fence. Exetelís donations are also used to pay for expert involvement in various aspects of the project and the sourcing and transport of the phascogales and bilbyís to the protected area. More money than Exetel is providing is needed to accelerate the implementation of other parts of this program and if you can assist, as little as $0.50 per month will be welcome, then you can make your personal donation here:
Exetel has completed its financial commitments to this program and has not negotiated further financial support at this stage and therefore Exetel has ceased forwarding any customer donations as at May 31st 2010.. Any user who wishes to do so can make donations directly by visiting the sponsorís site: