Paul Zanetti cartoon about the risks to natural flora and fauna on big infrastructure builds.
Paul Zanetti cartoon about the risks to natural flora and fauna on big infrastructure builds.

Gliders moved as highway workers watch for wildlife

A FAMILY of squirrel gliders has been safely moved to a new home at Corindi Beach after the Woolgoolga to Halfway Creek Pacific Highway upgrade threatened their former home.

Ecologists were called in to move the mother and her young after they were discovered in a hollow tree at Hawthorne Close by workers who were clearing vegetation as part of the project.

Pacific Highway general manager Bob Higgins said Roads and Maritime Services were determined to minimise the impact on the environment and specialists have been engaged to carry out inspections during clearing for the new highway alignment.

"To reduce the impact on native animals clearing is carried out in a two-step process," he said.

"Firstly hollow-bearing trees are identified and marked in the area to be cleared and vegetation around these trees is removed. Then each hollow-bearing tree is checked for animals as hollows can contain wildlife such as possums and gliders.

"The squirrel glider and her young were discovered by fauna specialists on site and were carefully removed from the tree before clearing and released outside the project where there are hollow trees and nest boxes.

"The specialists also inspect habitat trees after clearing work to assist with the protection and rescue of native animals.

"About 13 structures are being built as part of the upgrade to ensure animals such as the native squirrel glider can safely cross the highway when it is complete."

Mr Higgins said Roads and Maritime were serious about ensuring the safety of animals of all sizes.

"During drainage of a farm dam within the project area native aquatic species were collected and relocated to a nearby dam on a private property at Corindi Beach," he said.

"This included hundreds of bugs, a freshwater yabby and some eels."

For more information on the upgrade visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au.



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