SPECIES: Pseudocheirus occidentalis — Western Ringtail Possum

CLASSIFICATION: Critically endangered

The Western Ringtail Possum makes the list you don't want to make: the worldwide EDGE list of the most endangered animals on the planet. Found in forests in the southern parts of Western Australia, this Possum is comparable in size to a large rabbit. Its fur is light grey, with red and brown tinges, and has noticeable white patches behind its ears and eyes. They are under threat, largely due to loss of habitat, feral predators - cats and foxes, fire and being hit by cars.

Some interesting facts about the Western Ringtail Possum: a female is called a 'Jill', a male is called a 'Jack' and a baby, of course - a joey. Did you also know that a group of possums is called a passel.

There are only 3,400 of these beauties left on the planet and if we don't act now, it's estimated that the species will be extinct within the next 20 years. So how can we help to save the Western Ringtail Possum from extinction? Replant trees - for habitat and food; preserve any old trees, don't cut them down; aboid baits that are poisonous; keep pet cats inside at nigh and drive carefully at night in the bush. It's important to talk about Australian Endangered Animals so we can all learn about them and how we can help to keep them alive.

Thanks to Hayden Newman for this research (age 8).

Photo: Kaori Yokochi, Roberta Bencini - Yokochi K, Bencini R (2015)

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