The endangered Greater Glider has been recorded near Byron Bay, NSW for the first time in over 20 years.
A female and joey were spotted by the Wildbnb Wildlife Habitat team while working on a project for Brunswick Valley Landcare and Landcare Australia.
The extinction risk for Greater Gliders in NSW and Victoria was this month (5 July 2022) upgraded to Endangered (EPBC Act).
Habitat loss from logging, land clearing for agriculture, intensifying bushfires and rising temperatures have combined as major threats and finding the largest gliding possum in eastern Australia has become a rarity.
Wildbnb’s Locky Cooper said the discovery of Greater Gliders was a significant find for the region and provided some hope that pockets of suitable habitat remained for this threatened species facing extinction.
‘Greater Gliders need big trees with large hollows and are the original real-estate moguls, using up to 20 hollows to shelter and reproduce’ Locky said.
‘To see the female and joey was monumental, and such a rare sight’.
The Gliders came out of a hollow while Locky, and colleague Gregor Nass from Tree Glider Habitat Services, were searching the forest for big trees and suitable glider habitat.
‘We knew that this area had good habitat for large Gliders, and when the female and joey came out of a hollow to watch what we were doing we just couldn’t believe our luck. They calmly sat on a branch and watched us, long enough for me to get the camera out of the ute and capture some incredible images’, Locky said.
‘The Southern Greater Glider is now listed as endangered, which means the species is at high risk of extinction in the short-term’.
‘There’s a real sense of urgency to this important work, and the Wildbnb team is motivated more-than-ever to identify ways to protect habitat for Greater Gliders and to better understand, and respond-to, the local challenges impacting their survival’.
pWith funding partner WIRES, Wildbnb with the Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital, Brunswick Valley Landcare and NPWS, are working to better understand and support Greater Gliders in the Northern Rivers, NSW.
WWF - Australia, Saving our Species (NSW DPE), Southern Cross University, NPWS, Minyumai Aboriginal Land Holding Corporation, Ngunya Jargoon IPA and Wildbnb continue work on the arboreal marsupial bushfire recovery nest box project, now in its third year.
Funded by the Landcare Led Bushfire Grant and for Brunswick Valley Landcare, Wildbnb conducted monitoring, habitat assessments, Big Tree & Hollow Audits and installed five designs of Glider specific artificial hollows across the Byron Shire.
With thanks to Santos Organics and the amazing supporters of the Wildlife Safe Havens crowdfunding campaign, Wildbnb, in partnership with Brunswick Valley Landcare investigates Glider populations in the Bryon Shire.
· Greater gliders were once abundant along the east coast, but populations have crashed by 80% in the last 20 years
· Greater Gliders have been recorded living up to 15 years
· Greater gliders are nocturnal, spending their nights foraging on young leaves and flower buds of select eucalypt species in the highest parts of the forest canopy
· During the day, they spend most of their time in tree hollows, with each individual inhabiting up to 20 different dens within their home range
· Greater gliders can glide up to 100 metres in a single glide and can change direction at 90-degree angles mid-flight
· They steer by using their long tails and altering the curvature of their gliding membranes
· Their fur is soft and grows up to 6cm thick, and can range from white to brown to charcoal in a single population
· They’re also the largest species in the ringtail possum family, and the only one that doesn't have a prehensile, grippy tail. But what they lack in grip they make up for in gliding.
· Some Greater Glider’s tails can be twice the length of their body. An adult greater glider can be anywhere between 30 cm from 45 cm long, with their tail extending another 45 cm to 60 cm.
· Baby gliders are born once a year, in late autumn or early winter, and stay in their mother’s pouch until nine months of age
· Greater gliders are completely silent and have no distinctive calls and never chat with one another. It is thought that they communicate through scent-marking. Apart from using their patagia, or gliding membranes, to glide through the air they also use them as a blanket to keep warm during cold nights.
· Scientists recently discovered that there are actually three species of the Greater Glider, not one as previously assumed
· The Southern Greater Glider, Petauroides volans, which lives in NSW and Victoria’s eastern forests, is the largest of the family.
Wildlife Photographer, passionate conservationist and wildlife carer Locky Cooper documents Wildbnb in action. Most of the incredible images on this website are Locky's. He calmly studies the fauna and flora, always with a camera in hand, while seamlessly juggling Wildbnb's extensive monitoring technology, conducting surveys, installing habitat and managing huge amounts of data. These incredible Greater Glider images were calmly captured by Locky as the female and joey emerged from a hollow and watched him watching them - pure gold!