Tree-planting for mahogany gliders
February 18, 2020
Hundreds of trees are being planted to help the endangered mahogany glider.
Crews of tree-planters are extending wildlife corridors between Tully and Townsville - the only region in the world that this glider calls home.
Terrain NRM’s Jacqui Diggins said the work was being done on private land to connect sections of woodland, as part of a five-year project benefitting mahogany gliders and other threatened species including ant plants and broad-leafed tea tree.
Two hundred native trees were planted on a Bilyana property, just south of Tully, this week and there have also been trees planted on grazing land north of Townsville.
“This is a real collaborative effort with landholders and groups including the Girringun Aboriginal Rangers, Herbert River Catchment Group, Cassowary Coast and Hinchinbrook Council nursery staff and volunteers,’’ Mrs Diggins said.
The ‘Biodiversity Bright Spots -Tackling Woodland Threats’ project is supported by Terrain NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. It also includes mahogany glider population monitoring work and controlled burns in glider habitat.
Mrs Diggins said mahogany gliders could glide for about 30 metres on average.
“Sometimes connecting relatively small sections of land can make a huge difference,’’ she said. “It can help gliders to move between habitat areas for feeding and the flow of genes.”
The last population estimate for mahogany gliders was 1500 to 2000, and this was before Cyclone Yasi wreaked havoc in glider habitat between Cardwell and Tully.
Bilyana property owners Steve and Lisa Roeger said it was great to be part of the project.
“By planting select native trees along a fence line, we are linking two sections of existing woodland mahogany glider habitat,” Mrs Roeger said. “There is such a small range for this glider, so it’s important to help the species exist in the remaining suitable habitat.
“In about five years the trees will have grown enough to let the cattle back in to graze in comfort, beneath the canopy. For a small amount of effort and inconvenience, you can have a big impact on this wonderful animal’s survival prospects.”
The Roeger’s new fencing features a plain top wire. Mrs Diggins said barbed wire caused injuries, and death, for mahogany gliders.
“The wildlife-friendly solution is to change out the top wire on fences to plain wire,” she said.
“It’s the most common reason gliders come in for care. One spent a month with carers recently after being rescued from a fence and treated by a vet. He’s recently been released back into the wild, which was a great result.”