Seymour resident Emily Buchanan was delighted to find her backyard is providing habitat for a threatened species, with a native Squirrel Glider spotted on her property near Heywood Hill in Seymour.
Ecologists Chris Pocknee and Cameron O’Mara of the Biolinks Alliance, with Bertram Lobert from Strathbogie Ranges Conservation, have been on site and confirmed the presence of the glider, and noted there are very few documented sightings of this species in the Seymour area in the last 30 years.
Chris Pocknee said, “It’s a very exciting find. There is only one record from 2009 just outside of Seymour, and you have to go back to the 1990’s for the next most recent handful of records in the area. As a threatened species, every record is significant as we try to piece together a clearer picture of where these gliders are in the landscape.
“We hope to get out and survey more of the surrounding area to get a better understanding of the species and raise the profile of this special species that is hanging on here. We would not have confirmed this record without Emily being aware of squirrel gliders and reaching out to us, so the local community is integral to this work. ”
Emily Buchanan said, “I was hugely grateful for the expertise and enthusiasm of ecologists who volunteered their time to confirm the sighting. Community interest has revealed a wealth of local knowledge and experience I’d not known existed, and it was heart-warming to see how much people love their town and all that makes it a special place worth protecting.”
The presence of the threatened species in Seymour has prompted calls for the area to be protected as public parkland.
The Squirrel Glider relies on old hollow trees for shelter, and feeds at night on insects as well as pollen, nectar and sap.
President of BEAM Mitchell Environment Group, Peter Lockyer, said: “This patch of bush is rich in wildlife and should be something we look after for generations to come. “We are calling on Mitchell Shire Council to have a good look at how we can protect this area as parkland so that amazing species like the Squirrel Glider can be safe in their habitat.
“This species is listed as threatened in Victoria, and one of the main threats is fragmentation of their habitat, so it’s up to us to make sure we look after the spot that this local population is living in.”
The sighting of the Squirrel Glider has been registered with the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, a project which tracks wildlife records across the state.
Contact: Peter Lockyer, BEAM Mitchell Environment Group President - firstname.lastname@example.org