The greater glider (Petauroides volans) is the longest glider in the world, but also one of the clumsiest. The greater glider communicates using scent, instead of sound, and is notable for its large, furry ears and its ability to glide up to 100 metres. NSW has one endangered population of the greater glider – in the Eurobodalla region, on the south NSW coast.
Greater glider habitat
The greater glider is usually found in eucalypt forests and woodlands along the east coast of Australia from north-eastern Queensland to the Central Highlands of Victoria. The endangered population on the south coast of NSW lives within 6,000 hectares bounded by the Moruya River, Coila Lake and the Princes Highway. These barriers have isolated the population.
Threats to the greater glider
The greater glider feeds exclusively on eucalypt leaves, buds, flowers and mistletoe but occupies a relatively small home range – of up to 3 hectares – and is very territorial. One glider will use up to 18 hollows within its home range.
The loss and fragmentation of the greater glider’s habitat and loss of hollow-bearing trees pose the greatest threats to this species. A large proportion of the forested habitat within the greater glider’s Eurobodalla population area is freehold land zoned for small rural holdings and further glider habitat loss is feared as urban and rural residential development continues.
Solutions – What can be done?
Appropriate planning and assessment, to protect greater glider habitat, food and nesting sites, is needed. Revegetation programs would also assure gliders the connectivity they need between their fragmented habitats.
The Nature Conservation Trust’s conservation work on private lands is helping to protect habitat for the greater glider.