Prison inmates help threatened phascogales

Phascogales in the Barfold area will soon be getting new homes thanks to inmates at Middleton Prison in Castlemaine.
The inmates have been hard at work constructing 20 nest boxes for the Campaspe Valley Landcare group suitable for the phascogales, a threatened species found in central Victoria.
The distinctive small creatures, known as ‘duan’ by the Dja Dja Wurrung people, tap their feet when alarmed and wag their tails when excited.
They were found recently near Barfold as a result of the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network’s Spotlight on Species project.
President of Campaspe Valley Landcare Jan Elder said the group was thrilled to find images of phascogales on the remote sensing cameras that UCLN threatened species officer Brad Blake installed.
“The woodlands and dry forests of central Victoria were once a stronghold for these threatened species, but their numbers have declined over the last century mainly due to land clearing and cats and foxes.”
“Our group hopes that by installing these nest boxes, kindly built for us by the Middleton Prison inmates, we will be helping to increase their chances of survival in our area.”
Acting vocational services manager at Middleton Prison Peter Foti said that by building these boxes, as part of the prison’s recycling and environment program, inmates were being given a chance to contribute to society in a meaningful way, while being able to utilise existing or learn new skills.
“It is great to know that these boxes they have constructed will be helping local threatened species survive,” Mr Foti said.
Spotlight on Species is a joint project between UCLN and the Macedon Shire Council to conduct Citizen Science surveys looking for three threatened species in this area.
The data collected as a result of the surveys will be added to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas to help protect these species and their habitat.

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