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Pseudochirulus cinereus 

Scope: Global
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Diprotodontia Pseudocheiridae

Scientific Name: Pseudochirulus cinereus
Species Authority: Tate, 1945
Common Name(s):
English Daintree River Ringtail Possum, Daintree Ringtail Possum
Taxonomic Notes: Groves in Wilson and Reeder (1993) treats this as a synonym of Pseudocheirus herbertensis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-04-06
Assessor(s): Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Hawkins, C.
Contributor(s): Winter, J. & Vanderduys, E.
Justification:
Listed as Near Threatened because it has a restricted extent of occurrence (<1000 km2) and area of occupancy and the number of locations is 3. There is little information on population trends: current decline is possible but not demonstrated, and the population is projected to decline, but this may not be apparent until beyond the 12-year (3 generation) period considered here.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Daintree Ringtail Possum is restricted to north-eastern Queensland, where it occupies a small and fragmented range, in rainforests above 420 m a.s.l. (Winter and Trenerry 2008). The three discontinuous components of its range are Mt Carbine Tablelands, Mt Windsor Tablelands, and the Thornton peak massif (Burnett and Winter 2008). The total extent of occurrence is <1000 km2 (Burnett and Winter 2008). Its distributional extent is unlikely to have changed since European settlement. However, its area of occupancy has probably declined historically, due to some habitat loss.
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Australia (Queensland)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:36-100Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:189-800
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:3Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):420
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:

There has been no robust assessment of population size, nor that of individual subpopulations. Winter and Trenerry (2008) considered it ‘rare, limited’. Burnett and Winter (2008) considered it ‘common’. It is more abundant at higher elevations (Winter and Trenerry 2008).

Burnett and Winter (2008) considered it to have a ‘stable’ population size. A severe decline is projected, for this and other obligate rainforest possum species in north Queensland, due to climate change and based on modeled decline in habitat area, reduction in quality of food resources, and/or high levels of mortality associated with days of extreme heat (Williams et al. 2003, Winter et al. 2004).

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:20000-100000, 30000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:3Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Daintree Ringtail Possum is restricted to rainforest habitats at mid-high elevations. It is nocturnal and arboreal, and predominantly folivorous, but also eats some fruits, particularly figs (Winter and Trenerry 2008). During the day it roosts mostly in tree hollows and clumps of epiphytic ferns (Winter and Trenerry 2008).

Climate change and associated factors have been predicted to have a detrimental impact on this species, acting directly or indirectly through reduction in rainforest area, reduction in foliar nitrogen concentration, habitat degradation due to increased incidence of severe cyclones, increased incidence of high temperatures, and reduced incidence of free water in mist (Kanowski 2001, 2004; Kanowski et al. 2001; Williams et al. 2003; Winter 2004; Winter et al. 2004). Models developed in Winter et al. (2003) indicated significant decline ‘even with a 1oC increase in global temperature, a change that is considered inevitable within the next few decades’.

 Daintree Ringtail Possums are mostly solitary (Winter and Trenerry 2008). The extent of the breeding season is unknown, but pouch young have been recorded in July, November and December: two young are usually reared (Winter and Trenerry 2008). 

Systems:Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):4
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Most of the species' habitat is within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and threats from large-scale clearing or selective logging no longer apply. Climate change and associated factors have been predicted to have a detrimental impact on this species, acting directly or indirectly through reduction in rainforest area, reduction in foliar nitrogen concentration, habitat degradation due to increased incidence of severe cyclones, increased incidence of high temperatures, and reduced incidence of free water in mist (Kanowski 2001, 2004; Kanowski et al. 2001; Williams et al. 2003; Winter 2004; Winter et al. 2004). Models developed in Winter et al. (2003) indicated significant decline ‘even with a 1oC increase in global temperature, a change that is considered inevitable within the next few decades’.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Most of its distribution occurs within the Queensland Wet Tropics World Heritage Area where it is protected from some threats. Previous research has provided clear assessments of impacts of clearing. Management actions for this species include the re-establishment of connecting corridors, and physical structures (particularly canopy-level connecting ropes) that allow it to disperse between narrowly segmented rainforest patches (Wilson et al. 2007).

Citation: Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Pseudochirulus cinereus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18508A21962025. . Downloaded on 25 September 2016.
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