Australia has 1,913 threatened species—and counting

Australia has 1,913 threatened species—and counting

Let's get to know one of them.

Manager of Policy and Strategy, Tim Beshara, on his favourite Australian threatened species.

I want to tell you about one of my favourite threatened species. And it's hard to choose! There are 1,913 species on the list and more are added all the time.

Meet: the yellow-bellied glider.

This fluffy tailed glider used to be a pretty common sight from Victoria to Queensland, but its habitat has been fragmented, bulldozed, logged and further destroyed by the increasing severity of climate induced bushfires. The yellow-bellied glider is now listed as vulnerable.

The glider, and all 1,913 threatened species, need homes that are not under attack from bulldozers and chainsaws—or unsustainable markets producing unethical beef, timber and packaging products. This continues to happen because Australia has weak nature laws that wave through projects that wipe out large areas of critical habitat.

The yellow-bellied glider is critical to its ecosystem.

It uses its sharp teeth to bite v-shaped scars into the trunks and branches of its favourite trees for a sap snack.

Photo: Photo: This is the same scar being used by two different species (yellow-bellied glider and Kreft's glider)

Other species like the spectacled flying fox, broad-toed feather-tailed glider, striped possum and many others rely on these scars to source their own meals. Meaning that the yellow-bellied glider provides other birds and mammals access to the food they need to survive.

Wildlife needs large, healthy habitat.

Having large areas of habitat that are not fragmented allows wildlife to thrive and respond to changes in their environment. Fractured landscapes—cut through by mining or logging for example—cripple the way ecosystems have functioned for millennia.

This slicing and dicing from destructive industry prevent species from moving across land or sea to avoid threats or find mates—destabilising their populations.

Photo: Logged and burnt forest, Victoria

Even more, these areas are recognised for both natural and cultural values. The land and sea have been part of First Nations culture, lore and life for ten of thousands of years. Cultural sites can be found within Australia’s largest intact ecosystems—protecting these places is integral to supporting the rights and aspirations of Australia’s First Nations people.

Large and intact ecosystems are absolutely critical for the health of the yellow-bellied glider, our planet and all of us who live here. There are very few of them left in the world; they need to be celebrated and cared for.

Photo: Yellow-bellied glider at night

1,913 people for 1,913 species

You can help stop the destruction of yellow-bellied glider habitat—and the habitat of other threatened species—by making a donation to the Wilderness Society.

Will you be one of 1,913 people (one for each threatened species) to donate today to protect the wild places these species need to survive into the future?

Photo: Tim Beshara, Policy & Strategy Manager
Together, we can protect some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. Places where plants, animals, birds, fungi and insects thrive in complex systems that sustain life. The places that fill us with awe and wonder.