MEDIA RELEASE 6 July 2022 |
Greater Glider endangered status makes protection of Wombat Forest more urgent
Ongoing habitat destruction has landed Victoria’s Greater Glider on the endangered species list, but Victorian National Parks Association says until Wombat Forest is legislated as a national park Australia’s largest gliding mammal remains at risk of disappearing forever.
Recent research by VNPA and citizen scientists uncovered a larger than expected population hotspot of the Greater Gliders in Wombat Forest, recording an unexpected 40 Greater Gliders, four Koalas and even a Powerful Owl, Australia’s largest owl species over four nights in January 2022. Footage and pictures of the Greater Glider here.
“Greater Gliders are Australia’s largest gliding marsupial but habitat destruction has seen their numbers dwindle,”said Matt Ruchel, executive director of Victorian National Parks Association. “The Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s recognition that they’re at risk of extinction is welcome but it also demands further action from the state government.
“The best way to protect Victoria’s endangered Greater Gliders is to urgently legislate Wombat Forest as a national park.”
The Andrews Government designated the Wombat Forest as a national park 12 months ago, yet inexplicably expanded forestry and salvage logging in the area.
“The Andrews Government is very keen to promote its conservation track record but a media release announcing a national park doesn’t protect anything if it’s not legislated.”
The VNPA says that without a clear legislative timeline and the aggressively expanded salvage logging the area will require greater rehabilitation and restoration in the future.
The area where these Greater Gliders were found is across seven planned logging coupes and is surrounded by additional salvage logging coupes. At least one of these coupes also contain records of Greater Gliders.
Greater Gliders have seen significant declines in key areas across the state over the last 20 years, and much of the suitable habitat within Victoria has been impacted by the current 2019 -2020 fires. Wombat State Forest (WSF) contains the only population of Greater Gliders west of Melbourne, and is a range-edge population of Greater Gliders in Australia. The nearest population is in the Central Highlands, which are approximately 80km away.
Key facts: Greater Glider (Petronodes volans)
- Largest Gliding Marsupial in the world
- Second largest gliding mammal in the world growing to a length of 1.5 metres.
- Known as ‘flying koalas’ as they only eat gum leaves like Koala
- 32% of Greater Glider habitat was lost on the 2019/20 bushfires