Tuans need connections
  • Last updated:
  • 14 Nov 2019

Tuans are beautiful little bush-tailed marsupials that hang out in eucalypt forest. Their other name is Brush-tailed Phascogale, so-called because their tail hair stands on end like a bottle-bush when they are alert. Tuan is the indigenous name for these animals and they have a great life story. What a delight to hear that council has named one of their recently acquired land parcels through the Environment Levy Acquisition program after this forest dweller - Tuan Environmental Reserve at Cambroon in the Upper Mary Valley.

The reserve is home to the Tuan as well as the rare Rufous Bettong and the threatened Glossy Black-Cockatoo, Koala and Black-breasted Button-Quail. It also protects critically endangered Lowland Rainforest and other important habitat. The acquisition of this property under the Environment Levy program consolidates the region’s largest core habitat area which also forms part of a bio-regional corridor that runs from Maleny National Park across private land to Imbil and the Walli State Forests. Hinterland Bush Links and local landholders have also been focusing on restoration of habitat in this corridor over the past three years, performing weed management and revegetation on public and private land.

Through strengthening and building greater landscape connectivity we can work to achieve greater management outcomes for the Tuan. This little carnivore is similar to an Antechinus but about four times bigger. Depending on how much tucker is around it can range over a forest area of up to 100ha and each individual will use many different tree hollows for shelter. They need a lot of continuous forest with large hollow-bearing trees to support the population. Fortunately the Conondale National Park provides this habitat.

On the Blackall Range forested land is much more fragmented so the best way to ensure there is enough habitat for this species is to connect up the fragments. This is particularly important for the Tuan because every year the entire male population dies after a testosterone-fuelled mating frenzy. If breeding fails in an isolated patch of bush because of drought or fire, the species will die out. The only way that bush can be recolonised is if there is connectivity to more extensive and resilient forest areas.

When planning restoration on your own land you might like to consider how you can connect habitat with your neighbours or an adjacent reserve to ensure a future for Tuans and all our other wonderful wildlife. Recently 18 volunteers had the opportunity to help protect the Tuan Environmental Reserve through the revegetation of essential habitat.

Article by Susie Duncan Coordinator, Hinterland Bush Links