Science, one of the world’s most prestigious academic journals, has today, 11 November, published a letter on the extinction risk to Australia’s southern greater glider.
The letter was written by Dr Kita Ashman and Dr Michelle Ward, both conservation scientists with the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia.
Science was founded in 1880 with seed money from Thomas Edison.
The journal’s articles are consistently among the most cited in the world.
Through its print and online publications, Science reaches an estimated worldwide readership of more than one million people.
“Those readers will now learn about the world’s largest gliding marsupial, which is heading towards extinction before many Australians even know it exists,” Dr Ashman said.
“We hope the attention Science generates can help greater glider conservation.”
“In just six years, greater gliders have gone from not being listed to being classified as vulnerable, and this year uplisted to endangered.
“That’s a frighteningly fast decline, but if we stop destroying their habitat, they’ll have a fighting chance,” said Dr Ward.
In their letter to Science, Dr Ashman and Dr Ward wrote that: “The southern greater glider is rapidly declining due to ongoing land clearing, logging, and anthropogenic-driven climate change events, including the megafires in 2019 and 2020.
“To protect this species, we must prevent further logging of Australia’s native forests.”
They point out that greater glider populations overlap with logging approved to occur between 2022 and 2026 and warned that: “Logging in greater glider habitats will hasten the species’ alarming downward trajectory.”
“Australian forests are not an infinite resource; once they are logged, they often take several centuries to recover.”
WWF-Australia is calling for Australia to phase out native forest logging, immediately protect all greater glider habitats from logging and commit to adequate funding to delist all species threatened with extinction.