Squirrel gliders settled in Lake Macquarie suburbs, study reveals TweetFacebookVULNERABLE squirrel gliders are thriving in Lake Macquarie, new data shows.
Ongoing research into the species began in 2015, partially funded by Lake Macquarie City Council. The study is examining the population, distribution and genetic diversity of the species.
It is also looking at whether the M1 Motorway is hindering their natural east-west migrations.
The species are spread widely and sparsely throughout eastern . They have a dark stripe running from their forehead to their back and can grow up to 27 centimetres from nose to tail.
Lead researcher Katarina Mikac said communities were established in Tingira Heights, Rankin Park, Rathmines, Morisset and Sunshine.
A large population is also thriving in Glenrock State Conservation Area, she said.
“All the data we are collecting on squirrel glider abundance and genetics will help ensure their long-term survival in the Lake Macquarie LGA,” Dr Mikac said.
“We’ve found that our live-trapping data is a solid way of determining distribution in areas of high priority for conservation such as Glenrock.
“And the use of genetic testing has shown us that gliders caught in small, isolated habitat fragments had low mitochondrial genetic diversity.”
Co-researcherAssociate Professor JohnClulow said the findings were not all positive for the species’ survival, showing the need for bush corridors.
“Especially as we are finding that they’re disappearing from smaller, isolated areas of bush – particularly patches less than 20-30 hectares,” he said.
Lake Macquarie City Council manager sustainability Alice Howe said the clearer picture of how the squirrel gliders gathered would inform the council’s approach.
“Today’s Threatened Species Day is a fitting opportunity to highlight this wonderful work,” she said.