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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Successful reintroduction of red-tailed phascogale to Wadderin Sanctuary in the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia

Published source details

Short J. & Hide A. (2015) Successful reintroduction of red-tailed phascogale to Wadderin Sanctuary in the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia. Australian Mammalogy, 37, 234-244


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Release captive-bred mammals into fenced areas Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2015 in two woodland and shrubland sites in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Australia (Short & Hide 2015) found that following release into fenced areas, a captive-bred population of red-tailed phascogales Phascogale calura survived for less than a year, whereas a translocated population survived for more than five years. A population of phascogales established from wild-caught animals survived longer (>5 years) than a population established from captive-bred animals (which had been kept in pre-release pens and given supplementary food; < 1 year). Authors suggest that the unsuccessful site may also have had a shortage of tree hollows for nesting. In July 2006 and January–February 2007, thirty-two captive-bred phascogales were released into a 26-ha fenced reserve (outside which feral cats Felis catus were abundant) after spending either 10 days or over four months in a pre-release pen (3×6×2 or 4.5×3×2.2 m). Eleven nest boxes were provided within 150m of the release pen, and supplementary food was provided for one week after release. In April 2009 and June 2010, twenty-seven wild-caught phascogales were released into a 430-ha fenced reserve with 22 nest boxes, but with no pre-release pen or supplementary food. From November 2010–January 2013, thirteen additional boxes were installed inside (four) and outside (nine) the fenced area at this site. Phascogales were monitored after each release using radio-collaring or Elliott live traps, and through periodic monitoring of the nest boxes.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Provide supplementary food during/after release of captive-bred mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2008 in a woodland and shrubland site in Northern Territory, Australia (Short & Hide 2015) found that captive-bred red-tailed phascogales Phascogale calura that were initially given supplementary food when released into a fenced area with nest boxes, having been kept in pre-release pens, survived for less than a year. Six captive-bred females survived for at least three months after release, with at least two of them carrying young. However, there were no sightings after the first year post-release, and the population is believed to have died out. Authors suggest that there may have been a shortage of tree hollows for nesting. In July 2006 and January–February 2007, thirty-two captive-bred phascogales were released into a 26-ha fenced reserve after spending either 10 days or over four months in a pre-release pen (3×6×2 or 4.5×3×2.2 m). Supplementary food was provided for one week after release. Feral cats were abundant outside of the fence. Eleven nest boxes were provided within 150m of the release pen. No information on monitoring is provided.

(Summarised by Andrew Bladon)

Hold translocated mammals in captivity before release Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2009–2015 in a forest and shrubland reserve in Western Australia, Australia (Short & Hide 2015) found that a translocated population of red-tailed phascogales Phascogale calura, some of which were held in captivity prior to release into a fenced area containing artificial nest boxes, survived and reproduced for at least six years, and spread outside the release area. At least nine of 12 translocated female red-tailed phascogales survived 8–9 months post-release and all nine reproduced in the wild. At least one female survived two years after release. From 1–6 years post-release, nest box occupancy within and outside the fenced area remained over 60%. In April 2009, twenty red-tailed phascogales were translocated to a 430-ha fenced area, within a 560-ha reserve surrounded by farmland, and released at dusk on the day of capture. Seven phascogales were released in June 2010, six weeks after capture. Animals were released into or adjacent to 22 nest boxes, alone or in pairs. From November 2010–January 2013, thirteen additional boxes were installed inside (four) and outside (nine) the fenced area. Invasive foxes Vulpes vulpes and cats Felis catus were absent from the fenced area, but the fence did not present a barrier to phascogales. Phascogales were monitored between April 2009 and March 2011 using baited Elliott live-traps (nine sessions, 5,341 trap nights) and through periodic monitoring between July 2009 and January 2015 of the nest boxes.

(Summarised by Andrew Bladon)

Release translocated/captive-bred mammals into area with artificial refuges/breeding sites Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2015 in three woodland and shrubland sites in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Australia (Short & Hide 2015) found that following release into areas with artificial refuges, two translocated populations of red-tailed phascogales Phascogale calura survived for more than four or five years, but one captive-bred population survived for less than a year. The two populations of phascogales established from wild-caught animals survived longer (4–5 years) than one population established from captive-bred animals (which had been kept in pre-release pens and given supplementary food; < 1 year). Authors suggest that the unsuccessful site may also have had a shortage of tree hollows for nesting. In July 2006 and January–February 2007, thirty-two captive-bred phascogales were released into a 26-ha fenced reserve (outside which feral cats were abundant) after spending either 10 days or over four months in a pre-release pen (3×6×2 or 4.5×3×2.2 m). Supplementary food was provided for one week after release. In April 2009 and June 2010, twenty-seven wild-caught phascogales were released into a 430-ha fenced reserve. In May 2010 and May 2011, thirty wild-caught phascogales were released into a 389-ha unfenced reserve, where poison baiting was used to control foxes Vulpes vulpes until 2012, but this was suspended due to a possible positive effect on feral cats Felis catus. Wild-caught animals had no pre-release pen or supplementary food. Nest boxes (11–35/site) were provided in every reserve. Phascogales were monitored after each release using radio-collaring or Elliott live traps, and through periodic monitoring of the nest boxes.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)

Release translocated/captive-bred mammals in areas with invasive/problematic species eradication/control Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2010–2014 in a woodland and shrubland site in Western Australia, Australia (Short & Hide 2015) found that following the control of invasive red foxes Vulpes vulpes and provision of nest boxes, a translocated population of red-tailed phascogales Phascogale calura survived for more than four years. Four years after the first release at least 16 phascogales were present at the site, and 90% of 30 nest boxes showed signs of use. In May 2010, twenty wild-caught phascogales were released into a 389-ha unfenced reserve, and a further 10 were released in May 2011. Poison baiting was used to control foxes on the reserve until 2012, but was suspended due to a possible positive effect on feral cats. In May 2014, phascogales were monitored using Elliott live traps (400 trap nights), and nest box checks.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)

Release translocated mammals into fenced areas Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2015 in two forest and shrubland sites in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Australia (Short & Hide 2015) found that following release into fenced areas, a translocated population of red-tailed phascogales Phascogale calura survived for more than five years, but a captive-bred population survived for less than a year. A population of phascogales established from wild-caught animals survived longer (>5 years) than a population established from captive-bred animals (that had been kept in pre-release pens and given supplementary food; < 1 year). Authors suggest that the unsuccessful site may also have had a shortage of tree hollows for nesting. In July 2006 and January–February 2007, thirty-two captive-bred phascogales were released into a 26-ha fenced reserve (outside which feral cats Felis catus were abundant) after spending either 10 days or over four months in a pre-release pen (3×6×2 or 4.5×3×2.2 m). Eleven nest boxes were provided within 150m of the release pen, and supplementary food was provided for one week after release. In April 2009 and June 2010, twenty-seven wild-caught phascogales were released into a 430-ha fenced reserve with 22 nest boxes, but with no pre-release pen or supplementary food. From November 2010–January 2013, thirteen additional boxes were installed inside (four) and outside (nine) the fenced area at this site. Phascogales were monitored after each release using radio-collaring or Elliott live traps, and through periodic monitoring of the nest boxes.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Use holding pens at release site prior to release of captive-bred mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2008 in a woodland and shrubland site in Northern Territory, Australia (Short & Hide 2015) found that captive-bred red-tailed phascogales Phascogale calura kept in pre-release pens prior to release into a fenced area with supplementary food and nest boxes survived for less than a year. Six captive-bred females survived for at least three months after release, with at least two of them carrying young. However, there were no sightings after the first year post-release, and the population is believed to have died out. Authors suggest that there may have been a shortage of tree hollows for nesting. In July 2006 and January–February 2007, thirty-two captive-bred phascogales were released into a 26-ha fenced reserve after spending either 10 days or over four months in a pre-release pen (3×6×2 or 4.5×3.0×2.2 m). Supplementary food was provided for one week after release. Feral cats were abundant outside of the fence. Eleven nest boxes were provided within 150m of the release pen. No information on monitoring is provided.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)