Bega River and Wetlands Landcare (BRAWL) received a wonderful surprise last week when they checked their new habitat boxes and found a family of sugar gliders nesting in one of them.
The group has been planting hundreds of trees and shrubs along the Bega River and surrounding wetlands to reinstate habitat for native animals, reduce erosion and beautify the area.
However, trees need to be at least 100 years old before they develop hollows big enough for many hollow-dwelling animals to live in. So, the group applied for funding to build 22 habitat boxes and put them up in the plantings.
"We knew there were sugar gliders further up the Bega River around Buckajo because a landholder there has had success with gliders nesting in his habitat boxes," said founding BRAWL member Ali Rodway.
"So we thought we'd give them a try down at the Bega River and see if there were any sugar gliders closer to the urban area.
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"The boxes have been up since February and last week we did our regular monitoring check to see if they were being used and to make sure they aren't being occupied by pest species such as European bees, starlings, rats or mice.
"We were so happy to discover a family of sugar gliders breeding in one!"
In addition, the group has built habitat boxes for micro bats and crimson rosellas which are also known to occur in the area.
An earlier bat survey showed that eight types of micro bats use the area of which three are threatened species. These boxes could provide important breeding habitat for these bats.
"Having sugar gliders and micro bats can help keep insect populations under control. In particular, sugar gliders will help to control Christmas beetles which can destroy trees."
This program has been funded under the State Government's National Landcare Program. The habitat boxes were built at a community workshop at Two Sheds, and BRAWL has launched a community monitoring program for people who are interested in helping to monitor these boxes.
No tree climbing is necessary. If you would like to get involved, contact Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org.