The yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) Petaurus australis unnamed subspecies, is a nocturnal gliding marsupial. It is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under both the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) has been referred to previously as Petaurus australis reginae but is now more correctly known as Petaurus australis unnamed subspecies.
Habitat and distribution
The yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) is largely restricted to the narrow band of wet eucalypt open forest (also called wet sclerophyll forest) that is an ecotone between rainforest and drier woodland ecosystems. This habitat provides the two key habitat resources, den trees (principally rose gum Eucalyptus grandis) and sap feed trees (red mahogany Eucalyptus resinifera — locally known as red stringybark). The diet is highly varied but sap represents a major food source.
The yellow-bellied glider (Wet Tropics) is found in the Wet Tropics Bioregion of Queensland. The current distribution remains similar to its likely distribution prior to European settlement. The range is between Yamanie Creek catchment (70 km west of Cardwell) and Mt Windsor Tableland (100 km north-west of Cairns), a distance of around 260 km. There are three major subpopulations:
- the Cardwell Range – Herberton Range subpopulation occurs over 130 km
- the Mt Carbine Tableland subpopulation occurs over 25 km
- the Mt Windsor Tableland subpopulation occurs over 20 km
Several threats are affecting the survival of yellow-bellied gliders (Wet Tropics). The threats principally relate to habitat alteration and fragmentation. In order of likely significance these are:
- changed vegetation structure due to change in fire regime and other factors (major)
- clearing and fragmentation of habitat (moderate)
- grazing regime (minor)
- barbed wire fencing (minor)
- climate change (unknown)
To manage the impact of threatening processes on yellow-bellied gliders (Wet Tropics) to protect and recover populations throughout their range.
- Define essential habitat distribution
- Implement adaptive fire management
- Protect and manage habitat outside protected area estate and regenerate habitat corridors
- Research the impacts of cattle on glider habitat
- Collate existing data on glider barbed wire incidents and establish a reporting process through WildNet.
- Analyse glider and barbed wire incident data to establish level of impact and identify potential hotspot locations for targeted management.
- Implement an extension program for landholders on appropriate grazing regimes and fencing modification in glider habitat
- Undertake monitoring programs to assess the number of gliders in known habitat
- Analyse genetic structure of glider populations
- Improve understanding of climate change impacts