After Cyclone Yasi hit my immediate thoughts were with the cassowaries and how they would cope with another habitat decimation so soon after cyclone Larry. Then I remembered the Mahogany Glider (Petaurus gracilis). With a range that fits neatly inside Cyclone Yasi’s impact zone, and already on the endangered list, it was sure to be hugely affected by our most recent natural disaster.
After Yasi the race was on to prevent another catastrophe – the loss of the Mahogany Glider. With huge areas of forest defoliated or flattened, the nectar/pollen/sap/insect feeders were in danger of starving in the days prior to the cyclone. Straight away, the local community (with DERM, WPSQ and the RSPCA) sprung into action and erected feeding stations.
At the same time, nest boxes were installed to replace lost tree hollows and provide the gliders with a place to den. The feeding stations and nest boxes are being monitored closely and will continue for at least the next 12 months.
Already ranked as a ‘critical priority’ by DERM and classified as Endangered, the Mahogany Glider had enough to worry about even before the cyclone hit. With cane fields, major roads, railway lines and powerlines criss-crossing the forest, their habitat has been greatly reduced since Europeans set foot in the far north.
But, post-Yasi nature is prevailing. On a visit to Ingham two weeks ago I saw the swamp mahogany in flower and many new shoots appearing on bare trees. Those involved continue to work tirelessly, doing the best they can to help this cute and cuddly, hopefully it is enough.
We’ll keep you updated on the plight of the Mahogany Glider and Cassowary in coming months. And you can follow the progress of specific recovery projects on the WPSQ website.
You can help…