Conservation organisation, Aussie Ark has discovered not only a mother greater glider, but also her young baby, nestled inside a nest box within the Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary.
Greater gliders are Australia's largest gliding mammal, which were once abundant along the East Coast, but populations have declined by up to 80 per cent in the last 20 years due to logging, land clearing, and the rising threat of bushfires linked to climate change.
More than 100 of a planned 1000 nest boxes were installed to provide housing for arboreal species, which are animals that spend the majority of their life in trees relying on hollows for shelter and rearing young.
The nest boxes were installed as a necessary measure, following historic logging of the property.
Aussie Ark stock the nest boxes with dried poa tussock grass and dried bracken fern.
This native vegetation provides insulation for the nest box residents and their young, and has natural anti-flea/anti-tick properties.
When the greater gliders go up to a nest box feeling safe and comfortable, they will extend their pouch and they will let the juvenile out to feed and relax.
The discovery of the mother and juvenile greater gliders in these nest boxes proves that the mother felt comfortable and safe to allow her joey out of her pouch.
"This great discovery is what keeps us motivated because we love it and want to keep pushing, as it is not everyday you get to see a mum and baby greater glider nesting in nest boxes located in our Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary," ranger Rory Francis said.
"Deforestation and bushfires have robbed this disappearing species of its home. The forest has recovered, but the homes for our wildlife haven't.
"So seeing these vulnerable species utilise the homes we have provided for them as an intermediate step, is really special to see."
"We have to make habitat for these arboreal species in the here and now, before we lose them. Aussie Ark have put in these nest boxes and have protected these ecosystems forever which is what we are all about."
Given the high dependence on forest and large hollow-bearing trees, habitat loss and fragmentation through clearing and bushfires pose a massive threat to greater gliders.
Two hundred years ago, logging of old growth across Australia occurred due to making way for infrastructure, which has resulted in no old growth today. These nest boxes provide an intermediate step for necessary shelter while the landscape recovers and natural hollows become accessible.
Aussie Ark plans to install up to 1000 nest boxes. Help by donating today. Each nest box costs up to $150 to make and install. You can donate a bit.ly/AARKDonate.
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