My name is Stefan Hattingh and I’m a wildlife carer (registered with Bribie & District Wildlife Rescue ) and ecologist living in Brisbane, Australia. I’ve been involved with wildlife rehabilitation for almost 15 years, both here and overseas.
I’ve recently started caring for orphaned squirrel gliders in my spare time. I work as Operations Manager of Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee.
SQUIRREL GLIDERS: UNDER THREAT
Squirrel gliders are like possums but with the added ability to glide from tree to tree. Being nocturnal and sleeping in hollows, they often go undetected. This means there is far less awareness of them than their koala friends.
Squrriel gliders are under threat from habitat loss, road traffic, predators and other issues.
Two of my orphans were found in the pouch of a mother hanging dead from a barbed wire fence. They were both found starving and sick. The male died and the female survived and is now doing well.
When a mother glider is killed, if we can get to them quickly enough, there may still be a baby glider alive in the pouch or nearby.
When rescued, they are first taken to either Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital or RSPCA to be given any urgent medical attention and checks. I'm then called upon to provide their day-to-day care and rehabilitation.
The main aim is to have them released back into the wild. For this they need to be healthy and fit. Both diet and exercise are required to ensure their size and fitness is adquate for release.
Young gliders in the wild, practice their gliding with their parents nearby. This presents a dilemma when they are orphaned and in care.
It's important that gliders learn to glide in a safe environment as well as obtain the skills needed for their future in the wild.
They are under the constant threat of predation from both native and introduced animals. Thus they need to be agile, fast and able to maneuver around obstacles.
Sometimes other cages such as chicken coups are used but do not usually provide the necessary room for gliding at much length.
SOLUTION: Glider Gym
A pre-release cage for gliding and maneuver practice.
I have started planning the design, required materials and have engaged a volunteer to undertake the construction of a pre-release training cage for gliders.
B4C volunteer, Brock, is a giving his time, tools and building skills to construct the panels for it.
I was provided with a recommended cage size of 3m x 3m x 6m.
The structure will also feature thick cisal ropes to assist in maneuvering skills.
Positioning of food and launching structures assists in the training process.
2 rolls of wire $600.
Tulip screws $75
Staple gun $80.
Ready-mix concrete $60
Nest boxes $150
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