The climate alarmists have found a new fluffy white creature with which to browbeat us about global warming.
Enter the white lemuroid ringtail possum – a species allegedly in imminent danger of being wiped out by man-made climate change. Only four have been found in the wild in its rainforest habitat in Queensland, Australia since a 2005 heatwave wiped out a population said to have been in the thousands. One more hot spell like that and the possum could cease to exist. Apparently.
The possum has at least two distinct advantages over its ferocious ursine rival. First, it doesn’t kill and eat people. Second – unlike the polar bear – its population has NOT increased fivefold in the last fifty years, which gives it a greater claim to being “endangered.”
Unfortunately, as commenters at Watts Up With That have noted, concerns that the possum could be the “first creature to be wiped out by global warming” may be misplaced.
Problem number one: the white lemuroid ring-tail possum is not a distinct species.
It is just a colour morph of the common lemuroid ringtail possum Hemibelideus lemuroides and white individuals occur occasionally in other areas as well. However it is an excellent candidate for a “climate victim” since the all-white population on the Carbine Tableland is very small and isolated and runs an excellent chance of going extinct fairly soon through inbreeding or purely stochastic processes. The fact that this population consits entirely of the rare and probably maladaptive white morph suggests that it has been small and isolated for a long time or has passed through an extreme bottleneck after becoming isolated.
Problem number two: if it does die – which it hasn’t yet – logging/deforestation, not climate change will be the culprit
This species has been particularly sensitive to the fragmentation of its habitat as, being a strictly arboreal species, it does not cross roads or powerline corridors that dissect its habitat.
Those pesky climate change deniers and their inconvenient facts, eh, Dr Laurance?