Gliding marsupials using crossing at Kempsey bypass

19 January 2015

Animal monitoring on the completed Kempsey bypass has revealed new information on two gliding marsupials and their use of roadside crossing structures.

Roads and Maritime Services started monitoring the gliding marsupials on the completed Kempsey bypass in November 2013 and new footage has shown two gliding marsupials are using the roadside crossing structures.

“As part of the $618 million Kempsey bypass upgrade, Roads and Maritime Services built glider poles along the road to improve wildlife connectivity,” a Roads and Maritime spokesperson said.

“The results from the first two monitoring sessions have been impressive, with new information collected on the feather-tail glider and sugar glider.

“Seven poles were installed on either side of the road as well as within the median at two crossing locations to make it easier for gliding  marsupials to cross the Kempsey bypass.

“The marsupials were recorded on the glider poles on 45 separate occasions with recordings in quick succession evidence poles are effective for use as crossings.

“Automated cameras containing a movement sensor were installed at the top of each pole to detect and photograph wildlife during a 60 day monitoring event.

“From the first two monitoring events, gliding marsupials were recorded on the glider poles on 45 separate occasions with recordings in quick succession evidence that the poles can be used for crossings.

“The highest frequency of gliders was observed from poles located within the median, providing evidence that the most common gliding path is from trees on the road side to the median gliding poles.

“On multiple occasions feather-tail gliders were measured gliding 32 to 39 metres. This is an important find as there is little information published on gliding distances of this species.

“Wildlife connectivity is important for healthy breeding patterns and maintaining genetic diversity.

“Three further monitoring events are scheduled during the next two years to identify trends in the use of glider poles.”

CONTACT: Roads and Maritime Services Media Unit:  8588 5999

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