GIMME SHELTER - giving homes for fire-affected wildlife

By Nature Conservation Council of NSW

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The emergency

The recent bushfires across NSW have devastated millions of hectares of bushland, with over 800 million animals estimated to have died. Not only have these fires been more extensive than ever, they have also burned much hotter. This means many of the affected ecosystems will take much longer to recover, if they can recover at all.

There is an urgent need to provide shelter for the thousands of animals that survived the fires. Lots of small tree-dwelling mammals, including sugar gliders, possums and bats, rely on tree hollows for shelter and as places to rear their young. Without these hollows, many animals fall prey to feral animals such as cats and foxes.

Hollows form in the rotten trunks and branches of very old trees, with the first steps for hollow-formation usually taking over 100 years. This means hollow-bearing trees are a valuable resource that can’t be replaced quickly. Unfortunately, the recent fires have been so severe many hollow-bearing trees have been lost, which has created an urgent need to provide animals alternative homes in the shorter- and longer-term.

Our vision

The Nature Conservation Council (NCC) is a team of passionate campaigners and on-ground workers who strive to be a voice for nature across the NSW. With this campaign we hope to place nest boxes of various sizes in northern NSW to provide emergency shelter for hundreds of animals affected by the recent fires.

Species that may use the nest boxes include:

  • Vulnerable Brush-tailed Phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa)
  • Vulnerable Greater Glider (Petauroides volans)
  • Vulnerable Yellow-bellied Glider (Petaurus australis)
  • Vulnerable Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis)
  • Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps)
  • Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)
  • Mountain Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus cunninghami)
  • Common Ring-tail Possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus)
  • Greater, Lesser and Eastern Long-eared (micro) bats

We will be working with the Large Forest Owls Project (who is funded by NCC and the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species Program) that is already working with landholders in the Richmond-Clarence Lowlands (north of Grafton), with experienced nest-box ecologist Pete Knock ensuring that all nest boxes have the best chance of helping wildlife.

If our communities are passionate about helping these ecosystems and wildlife recover, and we exceed our $15,000 goal, we will expand the project to place nest boxes in other locations across the state.

How you can help

We are looking at buying two different types of nest boxes, with different benefits from each:

Option 1: $49 flat-pack nest boxes with a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. We also linked with community groups eager to build the boxes, giving the community a way to help their local environment recover.

Option 2: $154 pre-build heavy duty nest boxes with a life span of 30+ years. These nest boxes are made of higher quality materials, provide better insulation for animals and last much longer. These boxes are designed for easy monitoring of animals inside so we can assess how these species are recovering.

For donations over $2,500 you are eligible for a small-group tour of recovery sites with hands-on participation in monitoring, getting up close with our unique hollow-dependent wildlife. (Must cover own travel costs to/from sites).

The amount of donations received will determine the number and type of boxes we buy. We will aim for a mix of sizes to ensure we are providing a range of species the best options possible. Our nest box ecologist, Pete Knock, will oversee the installation and monitoring of the boxes.

Donations of any size are warmly welcomed!

NCC is a registered charity, so all donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Updates

We're thrilled to have reached our initial target and can expand the project to the second stage! We will now be able to move into the wider project area and beyond.

We've made our first order of nest boxes and they are being built right now!


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Team Members

Kate McShea

Amy Strandquist

Ange Liem

Ferry Tiu

Jacki Boyce

James Tremain

Karl Kinsella

Pip Martens

Queene Ostria

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