Greater Glider population thrown a lifeline in Latrobe

A research project is underway to study and strengthen the population of the Greater Glider possum, the largest gliding mammal in Australia. 

Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network, Latrobe City Council, Federation University and Greening Australia are working together to protect Greater Gliders, which are listed as a threatened species in Victoria. 

Greater Glider (sitting on branch with tail hanging down)

The project is supported by a $50,000 Community-Volunteer Action Grant from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Until early 2018, records of Glider populations within the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas were low, with the 2019/20 bushfires also impacting previously recorded populations in East Gippsland.

Fortunately, Greening Australia has added 118 Greater Glider records within the southern portion of Latrobe City and adjoining South Gippsland Shire. These records now represent some of the highest densities of Greater Gliders known in Victoria.

Mayor of Latrobe City, Councillor Kellie O’Callaghan said the discovery of the Greater Gliders on the outskirts of Boolarra highlighted the richness of biodiversity to be found in Latrobe City. 

“Members of our community would not likely have been aware that such a rare and impressive native animal lives in our municipality,” said Councillor O'Callaghan.

“Council’s 2021-2025 Community Vision highlights the importance of nurturing and respecting Latrobe City’s natural environment, supported by key actions to improve and protect biodiversity, waterways and bushland reserves.

As part of this commitment, Latrobe City Council has partnered in this exciting initiative to install 25 custom-designed nest boxes in a section of bushland south of Boolarra. Once installed, nest boxes will be monitored using digital cameras to determine whether and how animals are using them,” said Councillor O’Callaghan.

Federation University PhD student, Cassey Briggs, will document the presence of the federally listed Greater Glider to better understand the population size, their range and estimated family groups. The project will also bring together local schools and community members to participate in surveys and spotlight tours.

Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network Facilitator, Marnie Ellis said the project helps to deliver the objectives of the Victorian Government’s Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037 Plan.

“The project will foster an increased understanding of Greater Gliders while also supporting the growth of healthy populations by alleviating the threats posed from a lack of suitable tree hollows by installing nest boxes for denning and breeding opportunities,” Marnie said.

“Results from previous programs have shown that these nest boxes also have potential to support a variety of other native animals such as owls, parrots and possums, which will be a positive consequence to the project.”