Wooden poles can provide habitat connectivity for a gliding mammal

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Publication details

Goldingay, RL, Taylor, BD & Ball, T 2011, 'Wooden poles can provide habitat connectivity for a gliding mammal', Australian Mammalogy, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 36-43.

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Gliding mammals may be susceptible to habitat fragmentation due to increased vulnerability to predators and road mortality if forced to cross roads and other canopy gaps on the ground. We document three trials where 6–12-m-high wooden poles, also known as glide poles, were installed to provide a link for gliding mammals across 50–75-m-wide canopy gaps, over open pasture or over roads.Weused hair-traps over periods of 10–42 months to determine whether squirrel gliders (Petaurus norfolcensis) used the poles. Squirrel glider hair was detected on at least one pole during 69–100% of sampling sessions. At two road locations where poles were installed on wildlife land-bridges, hair was detected on poles in the middle of the bridge in 7–18 sessions, suggesting that complete crossings may have occurred. At one road location a camera-trap recorded a squirrel glider ascending a middle pole on five of 20 nights. Repeated use of the wooden poles by squirrel gliders at three locations suggests that tall wooden poles can restore habitat connectivity for a gliding mammal. We recommend further trials to extend our knowledge of the usefulness of this management tool for a range of gliding mammal species.