GER Glideways is a suite of collaborative projects aimed at conserving gliding possums and their habitat through targeted and complementary projects in strategic locations across the Great Eastern Ranges.

The challenge

The Great Eastern Ranges is home to all the species of gliding possum found in Australia from the diminutive feathertail glider, which weighs in at only 10-15 grams, through to one of the world’s largest gliding mammals – the cat-sized greater glider. Gliding possums are marsupials that have a thin sheet of skin stretching from their forepaws to their ankles. This gliding membrane allows them to glide from tree to tree, with species such as the yellow-bellied glider able to cover significant distances of up to 140 meters in a single leap. Gliders are dependent on mature forests with lots of tree hollows to nest in. Sadly, this is the very type of habitat that is being lost and fragmented at a rapid rate in Australia, placing us at risk of losing these unique marsupials forever along with the many other animals that share their forest homes, such as koalas, flame robins and spotted-tailed quolls.

The solution

The GER Glideways program engages local landholders and communities in conservation projects that support glider populations in priority locations across the Great Eastern Ranges. As the habitat and conservation needs of gliders are similar to those of many other forest-dependent species, these activities also support the many other animals that share their homes.

Glideways projects include:

  • Creating and reconnecting important glider habitat: Habitat loss, fragmentation and climate disasters are some of the primary reasons for the rapid decline of glider populations in the Great Eastern Ranges. By working with local communities and governments to regenerate and reconnect land in strategic locations and provide supplementary habitat, such as nest boxes, Glideways expands and improves the quality of important forest habitats, increases available food resources, and creates corridors that enable wildlife to move and adapt in response to changing conditions.
  • Protecting habitat: We encourage landholders to protect core glider habitat on their properties by getting involved in private land conservation, such as joining the Land for Wildlife program.
  • Managing weeds and feral animals: There are several species of pests and weeds that pose a major threat to gliders – feral predators such as foxes and cats prey on gliders, rabbits and goats compete for food, whilst weeds impact the overall health of their habitat. By working with landholders and local government on strategic, cross-tenure control programs we reduce the impact of introduced species and improve the health and productivity of our land and natural systems.
  • Research and monitoring: Our research and monitoring programs, which include genetic sampling and monitoring of revegetation sites, help to improve the management of glider populations and assist us in gauging the effectiveness of on-ground works.
  • Education: Through workshops with landholders and local communities, and school information days we increase awareness of the area’s biodiversity and build the capacity of locals to respond and manage threats to their land.
  • Community engagement: GER and its partners run events and citizen science programs every year, to inform local communities and provide opportunities for people to get involved directly in the conservation of gliders.
  • © Taronga Zoo camera

    About Gliders

    Gliders are a type of possum. What makes them different from other members of their family is that they sport a gliding membrane on each side that extends from wrist to angle. These ‘wings’ enable the possum to glide between trees in search of food, shelter and breeding partners. All species of glider are dependant on old hollow bearing trees which they nest within, many using several different dens within their home range.

  • Why Gliders?

    We have selected gliders as our flagship species as their conservation and habitat requirements closely align with the broader needs of their environment. These include sufficient habitat free from pests and weeds, ongoing community involvement in management efforts, and population monitoring. This means that by meeting the needs of gliders we are also supporting the other plants and animals that share their homes such as Spotted-tailed Quolls, Flame Robins and Koalas.

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