Yellow-bellied gliders are at significant risk of endangerment due to habitat loss. In the wild, these gliders dwell among the trees along the east coast of Australia. In recent times, trees have been cleared in way of new housing and building developments. This means more and more gliders are losing their homes.
This is where Taronga Zoo’s newest joey comes in. He doesn’t know it yet but he is set to become his species’ main ambassador. Students from the Central Coast are teaming up with the conservation society at Taronga to raise awareness for yellow-bellied gliders. The new joey is named ‘Jiemba’, which means ‘laughing star’ in language of the traditional Wiradjuri people. The students aim to create awareness about the importance of wildlife corridors, which are produced by planting native trees and shrubs for the gliders to call home.
[Photograph by Paul Fahy]
Taronga Zoo has the world’s only successful breeding program for yellow-bellied gliders. Because yellow-bellied gliders (also known as fluffy gliders) are so adorable, they act as a flagship species for their ecosystems, drawing people’s attention to the importance of maintaining their habitat.
“An encounter with a little glider like Jiemba can help people form an emotional connection with yellow-bellied gliders and inspire them to take action to protect gliders in the wild,” said keeper Wendy.
If people see a cute animal and get to meet one, they will be more inclined to help, which will have fantastic consequences for the wider ecosystem as well as saving the yellow-bellied glider from extinction.