EARTH FIRST |  Orange and Cabonne councils called on to act to protect endangered Greater Gliders on Mount Canobolas

The greater glider is an adorable fluffy possum the size of a cat. It has membranes that enable it to glide for up to 100 metres.

The greater glider is also the world’s largest gliding marsupial.

Action needed on Mount Canobolas: Greater gliders listed as endangered

Tragically, this beautiful animal has now been listed as endangered.

A major reason for the alarming decline of this species is habitat destruction through bushfires, land clearing and disturbance through inappropriate development. The bushfires of 2019 and 200 years of land clearing have contributed significantly to the dangerous depletion of greater glider numbers.

Government policy on the clearing of native forests has also been the cause of greater glider decline. Despite a huge loss of native bushland through fire, state and federal policy on land clearing still allows native forest logging.

In 2020 it was reported that 51,400 hectares of woody vegetation was cleared. This included the removal of old growth trees which contain suitable hollows for breeding and nesting.

If we are to save the greater glider from extinction, the cutting down and general disturbance of native forests must stop.

An arboreal mammal survey funded by NSW National Parks and Wildlife was conducted on Mount Canobolas in May of this year. The survey confirmed the presence of greater gliders, something local environmentalists have known about for years.

Dr Andrew Rawson, president of the Canobolas Conservation Alliance, points out that “Mount Canobolas is one of the very few locations in our region where greater gliders occur. It is essential that we protect their mountain habitat from any activity that could cause further disturbance”.

“Powerful owls, which predate on greater gliders have also been seen on the mountain. It is not just one species we should be concerned about; it is the ecosystem and interconnectedness of species we should also be considering.”

The greater glider is an essential part of the unique ecosystem the makes up Mount Canobolas [State Conservation Area].”

As a community we have the responsibility to do our best to help protect the greater glider by preserving its mountain habitat.

This can be achieved by ensuring that Orange and Cabonne Councils do not permit inappropriate development such as mega mountain bike trails within the Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area.

Being listed as a threatened species will not protect the greater glider. Real action at local, as well as state and federal government levels is required.

By Nick King

The original of this lightly edited post appeared as an article in the Earth First column of the Central Western Daily on Saturday 16th July 2022.