The Greater Glider in Strathbogie Forests

Dark phase Greater Glider – Image Steve Parish publishing

The Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) is Australia’s largest gliding possum and a stunning site at night, high in the tree-tops. The species is regarded as Vulnerable (to extinction) by both the Australian Government (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act) and by the Victorian Government (DELWP Advisory List), meaning it’s now on the slippery slope towards extinction if we let continue the current factors impacting on its survival. The biggest of these is habitat loss and the causes of that in the Strathbogie Ranges are logging and planned burns.

A ‘grey-phase’ Greater Glider; not a race or subspecies, just different.

Greater Gliders den and nest in big hollows, that only occur in big, old trees, like this one, below. These big trees take at least 100 years (possibly more) to develop hollows suitable for Greater Gliders. Unfortunately, a single planned burn can kill hundreds of these rare, majestic Strathbogie Forest trees.

In some parts of Strathbogie Forest these gliders occur in densities of 2 to 3 individuals per ha, but only where there are big, old trees. And Parlours Block, one of the highest conservation-value areas in the Strathbogie Ranges still has enough old-growth trees in parts of the forest for it to be prime habitat for this species.

Serious old-growth Mountain Gum (Euc. dalrympleana), 2 m diameter at breast height. One of the biggest trees in the forest.

Seriously old, old-growth Mountain Gum (Euc. dalrympleana), 2 m diameter at breast height. One of the biggest trees in this part of the forest.

If Parlours Creek is burnt, as planned, by DELWP in the next few weeks, it could decimate one of the last secure Greater Glider populations in the entire Strathbogie Ranges.

Greater Gliders don’t make a fuss about anything. They go about their business quietly, at night and on their own. They eat leaves, exclusively and are masters in the tree-tops. They usetheir long tails as a counter-balance and to assist steering, when gliding from tree to tree. It is totally tragic knowing that hundreds of these very special and endangered marsupials are burnt alive, or die a horrible chocking death, when their forest is burnt, not by accident in a bushfire, but deliberately by a planned burn.

Greater Glider – Martin Willis Photographs

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