Post-Yasi: The race to save the Mahogany Glider

Posted on Posted in furry, Nocturnal, North QLD

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.

The Mahogany Glider lives in the wet tropics region of North QLD, recently hit by Cyclone Yasi (Photo courtesy of Wet Tropics Management Authority)

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.

Nest boxes were installed in Mahogany Glider habitat to provide shelter (Photo by T. Ball)

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…

4 thoughts on “Post-Yasi: The race to save the Mahogany Glider

  1. I used to work with these little fella’s in captivity (many moons ago)… for an animal so cute – there personality is polar opposite! It all adds to their charisma though. Hopefully with their “don’t mess with me” attitude they’ll weather this storm….

  2. they are cute and cuddly, like all gliders. They have lots of critters that want to make a meal of them so guess they have to have an attitude just to get by in their world. I guess the cute and cuddly look of many animals is deceiving, take the koala for example. it will rip your face off if you try to cuddle them…..

  3. Amazing…we have worked with them in the wild and in rehab for 20years and our experience is of them is that they are only feisty when frightened or defending their young. hey are some of the most gentle and endearing creatures in our tropical forests…maybe it is captivity that is the problem as they are quite solitary and only socialise with their den partner and the young they are rearing and in captivity they are often kept in groups which are unnatural in the wild. stunning and gentle creatures….

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