The plight of koalas in the Redlands is well understood by the local community but another local marsupial, the greater glider, is also vulnerable to extinction.
What are greater gliders?
The greater glider, known scientifically as Petauroides volans, is the largest of Australia’s gliding marsupials reaching total length of up to a metre (up to 46 cm nose to tail base and up to 60 cm in tail length).
Gliders are nocturnal, solitary herbivores feeding almost exclusively on eucalyptus leaves and buds as shown in this very short video.
These animals are able to glide more than 100 meters, but need tall trees to do so. They avoid traveling along the ground whenever possible and are slow and clumsy if forced to do so.
Greater gliders are not closely related to other glider species, like squirrel gliders and sugar gliders. The ringtailed possum is the greater glider’s closest relative.
Greater gliders spend daytime denning in hollowed trees. Each animal uses up to twenty different dens within its home range of 3-4 hectares.
Females have only one young per year and the young are independent after 9 months.
There are many well written articles about this extraordinary marsupial including Zoologger: Biofuel powers biggest flying marsupial.
Where are Redlands’ greater gliders?
Greater gliders could be found in the Greater Glider Conservation Area at Alexandra Hills and nearby well treed areas.
They could also be found in and near the Venman Bushland National Park.
Because they are active only at night, and well hidden during the day greater gliders are rarely sighted. The Atlas of Living Australia only has seven, quite old, sightings recorded for Redland City.
It’s important that all sightings of vulnerable and threatened species are recorded in the Atlas of Living Australia so when consultants, planners, developers, landowners and others are searching the database for ecological assessments, they can take this information into account.
Threats to Greater Gliders
Threats to the greater glider are similar to the threats faced by koalas, including:
- Land clearing for agriculture and urban development
- Forestry (removing large trees)
- Competition for hollows (sulphur-crested cockatoos have been a problem in some locations)
- Fires especially too frequently
- Climate change
Conservation status of the greater glider
1. Federal law – Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act
In May 2016 the greater glider’s conservation status was increased to vulnerable under Federal law.
This listing means that the species is now considered to be a matter of national environmental significance. Developments in areas where the species is present may need to be referred to the Federal Government for a decision on whether the project is considered to represent a “controlled action” under the EPBC Act.
The conservation advice about the Greater Glider is discussed in full on the Conservation Advice of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee.
2. Queensland law – Nature Conservation Act
Queensland Nature Conservation Act lists the greater glider as “Least Concern” but its status is likely to (soon) follow the vulnerable listing under Federal law according to a statement by State Environment Minister Steven Miles.
3. Redland City
In Redland City the greater glider is listed as a Significant Native Animal Species.
Redlands2030 is keen to secure access to better quality images of greater gliders, but we are grateful to the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland for the images we have used.
Does anyone have quality images of this elusive and shy bush dweller?