The Mahogany Glider – listed as “Endangered” Posted on 17 Apr 21:04

   

Written by: Tzar the Paddington Poodle.

These very shy, cute little gliders with their beautiful big brown eyes just melt my heart. One of the real treats of travelling to Mission Beach in Far North Queensland, is the opportunity to have an up close and personal encounter with these gorgeous but rarely seen creatures.

We had made good time on our drive from Sydney to FNQ and we arrived ahead of schedule which meant that our holiday rental in the beautiful township of Mission Beach was not ready. So we decided to camp out near the cute small town of Cardwell just an hour’s drive from Mission Beach.

The evening had cooled significantly, so we were able to light a campfire to keep me and the gang warm and to give light to the campsite. Just on dusk as we kicked back to play cards, Mother Nature took over and lit the sky in a rainbow of colours. As luck would have it, a big male Mahogany Glider all 275mm of it, scurried down the trunk of a big Bloodwood tree from the hollow high above, to check out what we were up to. The hollow was his home where he and his family sought refuge from predators. 

We watched as he played peak-a-boo, popping in and out from behind the tree till we gained his trust.  Then to our delight, the whole family came out to play scurrying up and down the tree chasing each other.

Sadly the news I bear is not good for us and our future generations. Our furry friends, the Mahogany Glider is on the endangered list and it’s only a matter of time before they will no longer are around for us to admire. I feel dismayed that our children of tomorrow will not be able to experience this unique and wonderful Australian cutie.

 Conservation Status of the Mahogany Glider

  • Land clearing for agriculture, grazing, forestry, human settlements and infrastructure development has greatly reduced and severely fragmented the Mahogany Glider’s available habitat by 49%, from 276 880 to 141 121 ha (Jackson et al. 2011). Previous estimates of decline of 80% (i.e. from 533 345 to 106 669 ha (DEWHA 2008zzm)) were based on pre-clearing mapping that erroneously grouped grassland and forest together as ‘forest’ habitat.
  • It is ranked as a critical priority under the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP)
  • With such a limited distribution and the ongoing effects of past, extensive habitat clearing, the future of this species will rely on our ability to manage remaining essential habitat, restore connectivity and hopefully create new viable habitat for the future.
  • The mahogany glider is listed as 'Endangered' under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992(NCA) and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999(EPBC Act).

 Here are a few facts about these beautiful marsupials:

  • The Mahogany Glider is a small gliding possum occurring in Queensland
  • It is nocturnal, elusive and silent
  • The Mahogany Glider receives its name from its buff-coloured belly. The top of the head is pale and bears a dark stripe.
  • Fully grown Mahogany Gliders are around 600 mm long from head to tail-tip and weigh 300-450 grams.
  • The Mahogany Glider, in common with other gliders, has a fold of skin which stretches between the front and rear legs. This acts as a parachute enabling the glider to glide for distances averaging 30 metres and sometimes longer. The long tail is used for stabilisation especially when coming in to land on tree trunks.
  • Mahogany gliders are much larger than their closest relative, the squirrel glider, with which they may be confused in the wild.
  • Mahogany gliders are restricted to the coastal southern Wet Tropics region of northern Queensland.
  • The Mahogany Glider forages alone at night feeding on nectar, pollen and sap from over twenty different species of trees and shrubs.
  • Nectar and pollen feeding gliders are known to provide an important ecosystem function as pollinators of tree species such as some eucalyptus and Banksia.
  • Mahogany gliders use hollows in large eucalypts and bloodwoods as dens for sleeping and rearing their young.
  • Mahogany gliders live in a narrow and highly fragmented band of lowland sclerophyll forest extending around 140 km from Toomulla, north of Townsville QLD, to Tully QLD and up to 40 km inland.

Classification

  • Species:          gracilis
  • Genus:            Petaurus
  • Family:            Petauridae
  • Order:             Diprotodontia
  • Infraclass:      Marsupialia
  • Class:             Mammalia
  • Phylum:          Chordata
  • Kingdom:        Animalia

 

References

https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/endangered/endangered-animals/mahogany_glider.html

https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/endangered/endangered-animals/mahogany_glider.html