Study finds there are actually three species of greater glider in Australia, driving calls for greater protection of the furry flyers
Possum-sized marsupial that lives in the forests of eastern Australia, the greater glider is one of the world’s biggest gliding mammals. Once common to its homeland, greater gliders were already listed as vulnerable by the federal government, before the catastrophic bushfires of last summer burned about one-third of their habitat.
Until recently, it was thought there was just the one species of greater glider, named Petauroides volans; however, this recent study on their genetic diversity has discovered there are actually three – Petauroides volans lives in the south, Petauroides minor in the north and Petauroides armillatus in the central region.
“Australia’s biodiversity just got a lot richer,” said co-author Professor Andrew Krockenberge, a researcher in the Division of Research and Innovation at James Cook University. “It’s not every day that new mammals are confirmed, let alone two new mammals.”
The greater glider is a very chill kinda mammal. It squeezes into tree hollows during the day and soars up to 100 metres through the air on the hunt for eucalyptus leaves during the night. Like the koala, greater gliders do not move very fast or very far, so they can conserve energy, due to their low-nutrition diet.
Although exciting and, let’s face it, just pretty darn cute; the discovery of the two new species is just that – a discovery. Researchers understand very little about them and without further urgent work to learn, the three species remain under threat from rising temperatures, bushfires and land clearings. They have already been impacted by rising temperatures overnight due to climate change. For the southern species, anything above 20’C means the glider has to use its energy to keep itself cool, and can be put off their food in the hotter temperatures.
And because it’s so cute, here’s a photo. Nawwwwww…..
An area three times the size of the UK has become one of the world’s biggest marine sanctuaries
Tristan da Cunha is an active volcanic island, situated in the middle of the South Atlantic and home to the world’s remotest community of 244 British Citizens. Now it will also be home to the world’s forth largest Marine Protected Area.
The government of Tristan da Cunha and the British Government have declared a 987,000 square kilometre (265,000 square mile) marine protection zone in the waters around the island, which will act as a ‘no-take zone’, with fishing and other harmful activities banned from the area. The local community, which supports the sanctuary, will be allowed to fish sustainably in 10% of the waters around the island, but the remaining 90% will be closed to activity.
The sanctuary will become a “nature haven” to protect the unique wildlife that lives on and around the chain of islands and includes albatross, penguins, whales, sharks and seals.
A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found renewable energy to be the most resilient of all fuels in 2020, adapting quickly to the challenges of the Covid crisis. While the fossil fuel industry continues to see share prices fall, renewables used for generating electricity will grow by almost 7% in 2020.
The study ‘Renewables 2020’ provides detailed analysis and forecasts through 2025 of the impact of Covid-19 on renewables in the electricity heat and transport sectors. It states that almost 90% of new electricity generation in 2020 will be renewable, with just 10% powered by gas and coal, putting green electricity on track to become the largest source of electricity generation globally in 2025, pushing coal off the top spot, after has dominating for the past 50 years.
According to the report, the future looks bright for renewables. Investor interest in the sector is increasing and as more key markets announce their net-zero emissions targets, this is expected to accelerate the deployment of renewables. Renewable capacity additions on track for a record expansion of nearly 10% in 2021, while cost reductions and sustained policy support expected to drive strong renewables growth beyond 2022.
You can read the full report here.
Additional source: The Guardian.