Squirrel Glider

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Help us keep a squirrel grip on existence for the squirrel glider; your friend in high places.

Tell me something cool

No matter which way you look at it, the Squirrel Glider is a cool animal.

It’s a half possum-half-bird with the ability to fly 40 metres in the air. Not with feathers, but a flap of skin joining their front and hind feet. More like falling with style.

Where do they live?

Squirrel Gliders prefer to be high on something – now don’t jump to conclusions, we mean that it lives its entire life in trees, rarely coming to the ground. During the day they sleep in tree hollows, which are mostly found in 100+ year old gum trees.

Squirrel Gliders live all the way from South Australia to Queensland. They usually live in Eucalypt forests and woodlands in southeastern Australia, and wetter Eucalypt forests in Queensland.
Sadly, since Europeans arrived most of their habitat has been removed or broken to bits, making it hard for them to glide from tree to tree safely to find homes (tree hollows) and food, and to breed.

By squirrelling a little away through Edge Pledge you can stop this gliding possum’s skydive to local extinction in Thurgoona, just north of the mighty Murray River on the outskirts of Albury, NSW.

Tell us about their history

The Squirrel Glider is a night owl - being most active at night, feasting on a smorgasbord of insects and plant matter.

The Squirrel Glider is also a flying kangaroo – well not quite, but the mums do have a pouch (a marsupium) in which their babies spend the first 3 months of their lives.

The lifespan of Squirrel Gliders in the wild is generally only 4-5 years.

What is putting them on the edge?

Once upon a time Squirrel Gliders could ‘glide free’ and would only be in trouble if an owl, eagle, Lace Monitor, or other native predator wanted to make a meal of them. Nowadays they have lost most of their habitat to farming, forestry and housing, to the point where they now struggle to find old trees with hollows to call home, are hunted by foxes and cats, and are even found hanging dead on barb wire fencing.

On the northern outskirts of Albury we are experiencing a housing boom, in fact the number of humans will increase by 500% in the next 2-3 decades. This will mean a massive increase in concrete, traffic, noise, and cats, putting local wildlife including Squirrel Gliders under even more threat.

What is the vision for them?

The vision of Albury Conservation Company is to ensure we get a balance between homes for humans and homes for Squirrel Gliders. We want the local human community to look back in 30 years with pride that Albury was expanded without sacrificing the threatened species that already call the place home. Species like the Squirrel Glider.

How much money is needed?

To achieve our mission of securing a viable population of Squirrel Gliders we have identified the following projects that will help us to succeed:

  • $10,000: ‘Homes among the gum trees’. We are going to build at 50 state of the art nest boxes, purpose built for Squirrel Gliders. The Squirrel Glider usually uses tree hollows for homes, but because so many old trees have been cut down, there aren’t enough homes to go around. These tree hollows take over 100 years to form – so we need these nest boxes to meet the demand. We don’t want to rely on nest boxes; we need to protect our old trees, but nest boxes are proven to be an effective way to provide additional homes.

These nest boxes will be built by another amazing institution – the Men’s Shed. We will continue our fantastic partnership with Thurgoona Men’s Shed, who we know will build them with pride and satisfaction that they are helping a local animal in real danger.

The nest boxes will be installed in backyards, small hobby farms, and reserves around Thurgoona. This is a great way to involve local residents in the fight against wildlife extinction.

We will also get out there and monitor the nest boxes, ensuring they are kept up to scratch to ensure they last for as long as possible and are providing effective habitat for gliders.

  • $20,000: ‘Re-leaf for Gliders’. We will plant the hollows-of-the-future in areas where a lack of trees is literally stopping Squirrel Gliders dead in their tracks. If the safe gliding distance for Squirrel Gliders is 40 metres, anything beyond that means they risk death by falling to the ground, or they suffer the consequences of in-breeding and scarce resources. Gaps in canopy that are barriers to Squirrel Glider movement will be located, mapped, and the information shared to the wider community. We will then plant lots of trees and other plants that Squirrel Gliders use for food in these gaps so that the Squirrel Glider can glide freely for generations to come.

We’ll get the local community involved in the planting, schools, businesses, and private landholders.

  • $50,000: Project – ‘Hello Possums!’ - Monitoring Squirrel Gliders to help guarantee that the population is stable or increasing in 100 years’ time. We cannot tell if what we are doing is having any difference on the Squirrel Glider population unless we monitor. Without it there is no way of telling whether the population is increasing, stable, or in decline. If a decline goes undetected the opportunity to intervene is lost, resulting in local extinction.

We will partner with ecologists to undertake Squirrel Glider monitoring, guided by a Squirrel Glider Monitoring Strategy for Thurgoona.

The program will involve the purchase of motion sensing cameras and other equipment necessary to run the program, we will seek ways to get the local community involved.

This will help us detect declines in population and influence key triggers to ensure the population increases to viable levels.

Who is doing the work?

It is due to the great work and passion of organisations like Albury Conservation Company that the Squirrel Glider is been pulled from the jaws of extinction. Albury Conservation Company raises awareness about the species in their local community, inspires and empowers others to act, undertake actions that protect habitat, and conduct research to better understand the species. Albury Conservation Company will be managing these projects, in collaboration with a small number of key project partners, like Thurgoona Men’s Shed. Albury Conservation Company are a not-for-profit community-based organisation that has been advocating for local biodiversity and investing in research and conservation of threatened species for 10 years. All funds raised through Edge Pledge will be committed to the projects outlined.

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