A distressed glider found entangled on a barbed wire fence near Lismore which had severe life-threatening injuries, has surprisingly been accepted into a breeding program on the Gold Coast.
The female juvenile Squirrel Glider, a threatened species, was recently rescued and taken to a veterinary hospital where she was treated for her injuries which, under normal circumstances, would mean she would have to be euthanased.
The glider was left with almost no patagium, a gliding membrane that extends from the wrist to the ankle, so when the arms and legs are held out, it can volplane (glide) for up to 70 metres in a single flight.
Without it, a glider cannot survive in the wild where it would be preyed on.
A WIRES spokesperson said that in rare cases, an otherwise healthy animal that cannot be released back into the wild may be accepted into a breeding program at one of the Zoos around Australia.
WIRES kept the glider in care for about two months while she healed and waited to see if she would be accepted into a breeding program.
Compromised animals that are members of threatened species go on to a special list. If there is an appropriate place for them, then National Parks and Wildlife Service authorise them to go there.
For this lucky glider, there was a vacancy in a Squirrel Glider breeding program at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Australian zoos generally operate to capacity so there is simply not the space or the resources to put compromised animals into captive care. If there had been no room for this glider in a program, WIRES would have been ordered to euthanise her.
‘She is lucky to be alive, but we don’t know how she feels about not being able to do the thing she was born to do, glide,’ the WIRES spokesperson said.
‘At least she may give birth to new gliders of this endangered species and make a priceless contribution to wildlife diversity efforts.’
WIRES Northern Rivers wish to thank the many members of the public and the area veterinary clinics who helped in the many rescues and release of wild creatures this year.
To join WIRES, call the 24-hour hotline at 6628 1898.