Saving Orla

Saving Orla

Monday, May 6, 2024

When WIRES carers in the mid-north coast were first called to rescue Orla, a young Yellow-bellied glider, they feared the worst. Found motionless with maggots on her fur, Orla's condition was critical.

Habitat Loss Threatens Yellow-bellied Gliders

Yellow-bellied gliders, listed as Vulnerable in NSW, face immense challenges, primarily due to habitat loss. Dr. Tania Bishop, WIRES Wildlife Vet, explains, "Orla's crisis was caused by habitat loss – she relies on hollows that take at least 60 to 80 years to develop in old growth forest. Vast areas of her habitat were destroyed by fire, and unbelievably, huge areas are still earmarked for logging. Orla almost died because she had nothing to eat and nowhere to take shelter."

Rehabilitation: A Long and Arduous Journey

Orla's journey to recovery has been long and arduous. She required immediate oral hydration, four-hourly formula feeds, and antibiotics for the tips of her ears infected from exposure. Her carers provided painstaking support, including a new, larger enclosure for her to learn to 'glide' from wall to wall.

Saving Orla

Yellow-bellied gliders, like koalas, have complex gut flora. Orla's gut health had been compromised through starvation, necessitating the urgent sourcing of healthy gut bacteria from another yellow-bellied glider in WIRES care.

Preparing Orla for Release

Dr. Bishop and the WIRES team are also focused on Orla's eventual release. They've been leaving sound samples of Orla across remnants of her natural habitat, hoping to attract other Yellow-bellied gliders. Once another glider responds to these recordings, Orla can be released with members of her species. WIRES installed a specialised nest box to provide her with the shelter she needs.

The Crucial Role of Yellow-bellied Gliders in Our Ecosystem

Yellow-bellied gliders play a crucial role in our ecosystem. As arboreal marsupials, they are essential pollinators and seed dispersers, contributing to forest regeneration and biodiversity. Their survival is integral to maintaining the health and balance of our native bushland.

Support WIRES' EOFY Appeal

WIRES' Emergency Rescue Service is dedicated to saving and protecting vulnerable native animals like Orla. Your tax-deductible donation to WIRES' EOFY Appeal will support the rescue, rehabilitation, and protection of Australia's unique wildlife and their habitats. Join us in safeguarding the future of our precious wildlife.

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