Tiny and tough: squirrel gliders bounce back after bushfires

Published on 31 July 2020

Squirerel-Glider-Nesting-box-Forster-2.jpg

Eight months ago, bushfire devastated a core area of habitat for Forster’s population of squirrel gliders and MidCoast Council was contemplating a set-back to its three year program to protect the bushland that is home for the threatened species.

The NSW Government’s Environmental Trust project, which will wrap up on Friday 31 July, has protected and enhanced squirrel glider habitat across 53 hectares of bushland reserves in Forster. On-ground works have involved targeted bush regeneration works, the installation of nesting boxes, feral pest animal controls and community education.

One of the key aspects of the project has involved the installation of specially-constructed nesting boxes in areas of the reserves where natural hollows are in short supply. Gliders rely on hollows for shelter and breeding. In total, 64 nesting boxes were placed into trees in Council Reserves in the project area.

“The bushfire last year resulted in 24 nesting boxes being lost. Thanks to the support of Conservation Volunteers Australia and FAWNA who donated nesting boxes to Council, we were able to place replacements into the recovering bushland soon after the fire,” said Council’s Senior Ecologist, Mat Bell.

“It’s great news that the monitoring we undertook this week found ten squirrel gliders in boxes across the burnt parts of the project area, compared to five animals at the same time last year prior to the fires.” 

Fire is just one recognised threat to the survival of squirrel gliders, and the project has also helped raise community awareness about how to protect our local population. Council’s project page at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/squirrelglider has a video and resources to help Forster residents protect squirrel gliders.

“There are lots of things you can do to protect squirrel gliders at home – from keeping cats inside, especially at night, to planting native species in gardens and installing habitat boxes in your trees.”

This project has been assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust, with support from Council’s Environmental Rate.