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EPA gives up on endangered greater glider

16th February 2024

A coalition of conservation groups and forest ecologists have called on Premier Chris Minns to intervene following a decision from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that further threatens the endangered greater glider. 

The EPA has decided to return to survey requirements for greater gliders that in the 20 years they were in place up to 2018 routinely failed to identify glider dens. 

This move is the latest response to public pressure to protect the endangered marsupial following revelations that Forestry Corporation was surveying for the nocturnal species during daylight hours. 

Initially, the EPA responded to calls for stricter glider protections by proposing to scrap survey requirements entirely. 

After sustained pressure the EPA has agreed to institute nighttime surveys, however: 

  • These survey requirements are weaker than the existing survey requirements to protect every den tree

  • Known glider habitats will not be protected from logging

  • Forestry Corporation will only be required to survey along logging roads and tracks, meaning all glider dens that do not face these roads will not be identified

  • Only 5% of the logging area will be assessed

  • The focus on den trees, rather than sightings or habitat, makes the whole process more complex and less likely to protect gliders  

Quotes attributable to Jacqui Mumford, CEO of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW:

“By reverting to provenly inadequate survey methods, the EPA and NSW government have given up on protecting the endangered greater glider.”

“I call on Ministers Penny Sharpe, Tara Moriarty and Premier Chris Minns to intervene, before we lose this precious and unique marsupial.”

Quotes attributable to Susie Russell, Vice-President of the North Coast Environment Council: 

“The tragic thing is that greater gliders are one of the easiest animals to protect.

“Simply putting a 100m buffer zone around where they are seen would protect most of their home range. It’s not hard if there is the political will.”

Unfortunately, each day of logging inside their home ranges means gliders die. These unique animals have gone from ‘common’ to ‘endangered’ in just a few years.”

Quotes attributable to Dailan Pugh, President of the North East Forest Alliance: 

“This change was applied for 20 years up until 2018 and failed to identify any greater glider den trees.”

“If there is a genuine intent to protect greater gliders then we need to protect the whole of their one to three hectare home ranges, which includes the mature trees they need for feeding and the three to twenty hollow-bearing trees they move between for refuge and raising their young.”

Quotes attributable to Andrew Wong of Wilderness Australia:

“Since the government was elected, we’ve been calling on Minister Sharpe to protect glider hubs from logging.”

“Known critical greater glider habitat must be put under a logging moratorium immediately, including Styx River, Clouds Creek, Bulga, Flat Rock, Tallaganda, Glenbog and Nalbaugh State Forests.” 

“This short-term action should be followed by a rapid state-wide scientific assessment of critical habitat for the species. These practical solutions have been ignored.”

“The only way for Premier Minns to protect greater gliders is to ban logging of their habitat and for his government to buy out the wood supply agreement contracts that cover public native forests where Greater Gliders have their homes. He must ensure the state Budget 2024/25 allocates funds to buy and retire these contracts.”

Quotes attributable to Scott Daines of South East Forest Rescue:

“For the second time in two weeks the EPA has capitulated to Forestry and changed the rules to the detriment of our endangered greater gliders.”

“This survey method was recently trialled by Forestry in Styx River on the north coast and they only found 1 suspected den tree, whereas our small surveys identified 11 den trees.”

“The EPA are dreaming if they believe this will protect the species. Chris Minns and Penny Sharpe need to sort this mess out or forever be known as the people who were complicit in the extinction of the greater glider.”

 

Media contacts: 

Jacqui Mumford, Nature Conservation Council of NSW 0411 075 875
Susie Russell, North Coast Environment Council 0429 655 044
Dailan Pugh, North East Forest Alliance 0400 711 054
Andrew Wong, Wilderness Australia 0467 472 581
Scott Daines, South East Forest Rescue 0497 129 735

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