Nesting Boxes Revive Glider Population

Eight months ago bushfire devastated the habitat of Forster’s squirrel gliders.

It set back MidCoast Council’s three year program to protect the bushland home for the threatened species.

Nesting box overcomes scarcity of tree and log hollows that squirrel gliders depend upon. Deployed at Forster habitat, NSW.

The NSW Government’s Environmental Trust project (that ended last Friday 31 July 2020) re-established squirrel glider habitat across 53 hectares of bushland reserves in Forster. This involved targeted bush regeneration works, the installation of nesting boxes, feral pest animal controls, and community education.

A key measure was 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. Sixty four 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.