Embarrassed by the stubborn refusal of polar bears to die out, or even to appear convincingly rare, climate scientists are touting a new poster child species for our collective climate guilt – the white lemuroid ringtail possum.
The possum is restricted to just one mountain range in tropical Australia. Previously numbered in the thousands, the species was almost wiped out by a heatwave in 2005.
“I think this really should be a wake-up call,” tropical rainforests expert and James Cook University researcher Professor Bill Laurance told AAP.
“We’re arguing this is a better icon for global warming than a polar bear because it typifies the type of biodiversity we will lose in the future.”
JUST four white lemuroid ringtail possums have been found in the wild and scientists say the species could soon become the first creature to be wiped out by global warming.
h/t to Eric Worrall
However, it may be down, but not out, from 2009:
A RARE possum said to be the first Australian species wiped out by global warming appears to be clinging to survival, if still vulnerable, in north Queensland’s tropical rainforest.
Last year, the white lemuroid ringtail possum was reported to have vanished from high-altitude rainforests in north Queensland. It was the first Australian mammal extinction attributed to climate change.
The white possums are native to the mountains that surround Port Douglas and Cairns. When news of their apparent demise was reported, rising temperatures and global warming were blamed.