They’re as cute as can be, and now there’s two more reasons to love charismatic, nectar-loving sugar gliders.
Researchers at Charles Darwin University and the Queensland University of Technology have identified two new species which means there are now actually three genetically and physically distinct species of the marsupial.
Unfortunately, that’s not sweet news for sugar gliders.
Dividing them into three separate species means their distribution has been widely overestimated.
Their populations could be more threatened than previously thought, especially after Australia’s recent devastating bushfires.
“When considered as one species, sugar gliders were considered widespread and abundant, and classified as Least Concern,” said Charles Darwin University’s Dr Teigan Cremona.
“The distinction of these three species has meant a substantially diminished distribution for the sugar glider, making that species vulnerable to large-scale habitat destruction,” she said.
Researchers are especially concerned about one of the new species, the savanna gliders from Northern Australia.
It’s estimated they’ve lost more than a third of their natural habitat over the last 30 years.
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