Australia adds large gliding marsupial to endangered species list

Sydney, Australia, Jul 5 (EFE).- Australia included Petauroides volans, an endemic mammal the size of a cat considered the largest gliding marsupial in the world, on its national list of endangered species, as environmental groups warn of the species’ “devastating” decline.

Logging and urban development on Australia’s east coast and increasingly frequent devastating fires due to the climate crisis, have reduced the population of Petauroides volans, known as the Great Glider, by as much as 80 percent.

This situation forced Australian authorities in 2016 to include on the list this nocturnal herbivore, which can glide up to a 100 meters thanks to membranes between its extremities.

The situation of this species has worsened in recent years and authorities decided Monday to change its status to “endangered.”

“They have gone from unlisted to vulnerable to endangered in just six years. This is a devastating decline that will continue if urgent action is not taken,” Kita Ashman, an expert on climate adaptation and threatened species at the NGO WWF-Australia.

The environmental organization recommended that Australian authorities promote certified plantations to repopulate the habitat of the marsupial, also known as “the clumsy possum,” which feeds, like koalas, on eucalyptus trees and usually nests in old tree holes.

The head and body of the Petauroides volans, a furry animal that varies in color from white to gray or brown, can measure up to 46 centimeters, while its tail can reach 60 centimeters, and weigh between 900 grams and 1.7 kilograms. EFE


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