Endangered Possum Breed at Rainforest Habitat
Mon 22 Feb
One of North Queensland’s most endangered mammals, the Mahogany Glider has breed at the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mahogany Gliders were lost to science for over a hundred years. They were first described in 1883 then lost in Museums vaults until 1986 and then rediscovered in the wild in 1993 a full 110 years after there initial discovery.
They are one of the larger of the gliding possums and feed on nectar, pollen and the sap of certain trees. They are very reliant on certain types of coastal habitat which means they live in a small strip of coastal forest between Ingham and Tully and nowhere else on earth.
Within this small coastal strip of approximately 120 km concerned individuals and community groups have gone to great lengths to create awareness about the plight of this extremely charismatic possum.
A joint project between members of the Zoo Aquarium Association Queensland Branch, including the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, the Queensland University and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is directed at increasing numbers of individuals and increasing genetic diversity in the captive population and creating awareness in the Queensland community about the threats negatively impacting Mahogany Gliders in the wild.
The Curator of the Rainforest Habitat Terry Carmichael said “it is a privilege and an honour to care for this delightful species in captivity. Our role in a modern zoo is to alert our visitors and the wider community to the plight of animals like the Mahogany Glider. Habitat destruction and fragmentation have reduced the Mahogany Glider’s habitat by 80%. Even roads and barded wire fences have caused mortality in the wild population”
Mr Carmichael went on to say “the success of our captive breeding program is due to the specialised environment we have been able to replicate at the Habitat and the hard work and persistence of our passionate wildlife team.”