Greater Glider spotted in the Blue Mountains, NSW © Dr Peter Smith

Greater Glider spotted in the Blue Mountains, NSW © Dr Peter Smith

Prestigious journal exposes plight of Australia’s greater glider to huge international audience

11 Nov 2022

Keywords
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, who are honoured to be published in such an influential journal.

Science was founded in 1880 with seed money from Thomas Edison. Its 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.

“Those readers will now learn about the world’s largest gliding marsupial which is heading towards extinction before many Australians even know it exists. We hope the attention Science generates can help greater glider conservation,” said Dr Ashman.

“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 write 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 warn 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 habitat from logging and commit to adequate funding to delist all species threatened with extinction.

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