Posted on 23rd November 2018 by Media Relations
A GREATER GLIDER JOEY has miraculously survived an epic fall after a Wedged-Tailed Eagle dropped the young glider’s mother from the sky at Oberon in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Tourists saw the bird of prey drop the female adult Greater Glider and found the joey in the dead mother’s pouch.
The young glider was being hand-raised by a WIRES carer from the Blue Mountains area before it was brought to Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital in Sydney.
“WIRES called and requested that we take the glider because she would not lap her milk,” says Taronga keeper Sarah Male. “She is now lapping. We give her 20ml of milk in the morning and she has started feeding on leaves and gum nuts.”
The little glider was just 148gm when found. “She’s now about 360gm. We can estimate from her weight that she’s about 180 days old now,” says Sarah. “She’s also putting on weight every day. She’s put on 6gms overnight.”
Hospital staff hope to release the glider back to the Blue Mountains areas when she is older, if she continues to feed well, is fit and active and exhibits normal behaviour. “She’s yet to start gliding but she is stretching her legs and walking around,” Sarah says.
Greater Gliders are the largest of Australia’s gliding possum species and are specialist feeders like koalas – their diet is almost exclusively eucalypt leaves (although they will eat gum nuts and blossoms at times).
Strictly nocturnal and essentially solitary, Greater Gliders rest during the day in tree hollows, usually in very high old trees. Their reliance on old growth trees has caused their numbers to decline – they do not occur in rainforests or pine plantations – and the species is now listed at vulnerable.
Greater Gliders are agile climbers and have very sharp claws. When they glide they can cover a horizontal distance of up to 100 metres, which can involve changes of direction of as much as 90 degrees. Greater gliders are also silent (unlike others gliders who can be quite vocal).
Taronga’s two Wildlife Hospitals care for around 1400 native animals each year. These animals are brought to the hospitals by members of the community after being found sick, injured or orphaned.
The main aim of the Wildlife Hospitals is to rehabilitate as many native animals as possible for release back to the wild. The variety of animals treated is enormous, ranging from stranded seals and orphaned baby bats, to pelicans tangled in fishing line. All these animals need professional care and attention during the treatment and rehabilitation process to ensure they can be returned to their natural environment.
If you find injured native wildlife, contact a wildlife service such as WIRES by phoning 1300 094 737. During business hours, the Taronga Wildlife Hospital is also available to provide advice by phoning 9969 2777.