Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Unraveling the Mysterious Tuan

Posted on 10 April, 2014 by Connecting Country

Between mid-2009 and mid-2013, Connecting Country implemented a major project across the Mount Alexander Shire to increase the population of the endangered Brush-tailed Phascogale – also known as the Tuan.  This was partially achieved through working with landholders to enhance the depleted Yellow Box Woodland habitat preferred by Tuans.

sugar gliders

Four Sugar Gliders cosy and warm inside a nest box. This box was located in Sandon along a creek line (therefore a gully) and installed upon a very mature Yellow Box.

More than 400 nest boxes were also installed across the region (in clusters of three) to both provide additional Tuan nesting habitat, and to also allow long-term monitoring of their populations.  These specially designed nest boxes were installed with landholders’ permission in both public and private land, and within large and small patches of native woodland and forest habitat.

In April and May of 2011 and 2012, Connecting Country staff undertook monitoring of a large sample of these boxes.  April and May is the time of year that has the least disturbance upon the Tuan.  We were supported in 2012 by an Honours student from Deakin University, Amy Monagle, who also analyzed the habitat features around each nest box location. Her findings were of considerable interest (click here for a summary).  Connecting Country also prepared its own summary of the monitoring findings, which was published on its website (click here) and posted to the relevant landholders.  Many Sugar Gliders were also found, in addition to the Tuans

A short film on the nest box monitoring program was also produced by the Norman Wettenhall Foundation (click here to view).

During 2013, landholders with nest boxes on their properties were provided with instructional guides which described how to monitor the nest boxes themselves using observations at dusk (click here).  Many subsequently did this, and then sent their results to Connecting Country to add to our database of local records.

In 2014, Connecting Country is once again intending to monitor a large sample of the installed nest boxes.  Relevant landholders across the region are now being contacted to seek permission for access to the boxes by Connecting Country staff and volunteer assistants.

Watch this website over the coming weeks for more information about the Tuan and the findings of our 2014 nest box surveys. And if you do see a Tuan anywhere across the region, please send us the details to add to our database (

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