Bespoke habitat calls gliders home
A conservation project aimed at understanding how some of Australia’s smallest marsupials are faring is boosting the population of sugar gliders in the Lake Macquarie State Conservation Area.
Funded by a Lake Macquarie City Council Environmental Research Grant, University of Technology Sydney PhD student Reannan Honey and a team of volunteers are tracking squirrel glider and sugar glider populations at more than 20 sites across the city.
The fact that tiny sugar gliders have moved into the State Conservation Area (SCA) is the latest sign the city’s ecosystems are thriving, the council says.
Ms Honey uses regularly checked traps, microchips, motion-activated cameras and custom-made insulated nest boxes to track the animals, and her habitat restoration research means she spends a lot of time climbing trees and peering down tree hollows.
“Understanding how the population changes based on various pressures such as bushfire and drought can help to conserve the population,” Ms Honey, from UTS School of Life Sciences, said.
Understanding how the population changes based on various pressures such as bushfire and drought can help to conserve the population.
Reannan Honey, UTS Faculty of Science
“I’m also hoping to learn more about how they use the nest boxes – particularly the insulated ones I’ve installed.
“One interesting thing is that sugar gliders have moved into Lake Macquarie SCA. Previously, I have only recorded squirrel gliders there.”
Sugar gliders are nocturnal, palm-sized marsupials that weigh only 120g to 140g, about as much as an orange, but can glide up to 50m from tree to tree, using a membrane of skin attached to their legs.
Continue reading at UTS Newsroom: Bespoke habitat calls gliders home