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Monitoring Greater Glider Populations

Blog Post - Monitoring Greater Glider Populations

Recent research indicates that the local Greater Glider population is declining at annual rates up to 9% and modelling predicts substantial shrinking of their habitats in all eastern Australia in future as well as local extinctions...

The Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) is Australia’s largest gliding possum and is distributed along the entire eastern coast, from tropical Queensland to central Victoria. Greater Gliders are folivorous arboreal marsupials and forage exclusively on Eucalyptus leaves, similar to the Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). The animals can glide more than 100 metres from the top of a tree and occupy forest patches of up to 3 ha, that they access from a tree-hollow in tall Eucalypts, which they use as nests.

While populations sizes are reported large and the animal is considered common in Australia and widespread in its distribution, the marsupial has been placed under a vulnerable conservation status by the IUCN. Often the decline is expected to be caused by logging, as it leaves the habitat of the Greater Glider fragmented and patchy and limits nesting- and foraging trees as well as the ability to move freely throughout the landscape without moving on the ground.

The aim of this project is to evaluate landscape factors and find the combination of influences on the habitat of Greater Gliders that causes their populations to regionally decline. The project will also assess findings from prior studies within the region of the Central Victorian Highlands and East Gippsland and evaluate them in combination to determine drivers of population decline apart from logging.

The project brings together experts in the field of wildlife and forest ecology, monitoring and management, silviculture, remote sensing and statistical data analysis to facilitate a positive outcome of the planned efforts. Through the described cooperation a wide range and variety of study sites and Glider habitats in Victoria, within the Central Highlands and East-Gippsland, can be included in the survey.

Benjamin Wagner, PhD student, The University of Melbourne

This science grant is supported by funding from the Paddy Pallin Foundation and the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, and is administered by the Royal Zoological Society of NSW.




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