The Greater Glider are the largest Australian gliding possum with a head and body length ranging from 35 – 45cm and their long furry tail measuring 45 – 60cm. They are an enchanting velvety-furred marsupial with distinctive large fluffy ears. This animal can glide up to an incredible 100m at a time. They have a highly specialized diet feeding almost exclusively on eucalypt leaves. In addition, the Greater Glider utilizes between 2-18 hollows and old remnant trees for rest and shelter.
Historical land clearing has led to the fragmentation of Greater Glider habitat, forcing them into isolated pockets which has a detrimental effect on the population as they move primarily by gliding between tree canopies. Greater Glider’s require old growth trees with large hollows, so lack of hollows is one of the biggest threats the greater gliders face.
As the Greater Glider require mature trees with well-developed hollows, habitat destruction and fragmentation are of primary concern. Well-developed hollows are not easily replaceable, and as the number of hollows decrease so does the Greater Glider population.
In recent years, there were very limited documented records of Greater Gliders in the Strzelecki Ranges, however anecdotal evidence and historical records suggested that there were some present. As of March 2019, this project has already enabled Greening Australia to register 125 new records of Greater Gliders. This includes two areas where Greater Gliders have never been recorded before.
Greening Australia is working to protect the Greater Glider through habitat restoration and introducing nesting boxes as an alternative to their hollows. By 2022, over 635,000 trees will be planted across 127 ha of private land to support the ranges’ nationally threatened Greater Glider populations. In addition to the revegetation work, nest boxes are being installed in the statuesque Mountain Ash trees, one of the Greater Gliders’ favourite homes. In September 2018, fifty nest boxes were fitted on the fringes of known populations and their effectiveness closely monitored.
Nest boxes were built tailored to the Greater Gliders in the Strzelecki Ranges which are larger than those up north have successfully taken the pressure off the population in terms of hollow requirement – lack of hollows is one of the biggest threats to the Greater Glider. Nest boxes will be incorporated at other sites.
All of these projects aim to increase community engagement and raise awareness of the Greater Glider and their habitat needs, with the overall goal to alleviate the threat to consolidate and build a more robust population