Telefomin cuscus

The Telefomin cuscus (Phalanger matanim) is a critically endangered possum found on New Guinea.

Telefomin cuscus[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Phalangeridae
Genus: Phalanger
P. matanim
Binomial name
Phalanger matanim
Flannery, 1987
Telefomin Cuscus area.png
Telefomin cuscus range

It is named after the Telefol ethnic group, who hunted the animal long before it was identified scientifically by the Australian zoologist Tim Flannery. It is believed to live only in the extremely restricted range of one valley's oak forests at altitudes between 1500 and 2000 m along a single river in the middle of Papua New Guinea: the Nong River Valley north of Telefomin. After 1997's drought, extremely cold weather ("bitter frosts") which killed the trees, and resulting wildfires, these forests were destroyed, which Flannery believes might have resulted in the species' extinction.


This cuscus can or has been found in the areas of Telefomin and Tifalmin, and Papua New Guinea. It might be found even further northeast or west of the known collection areas. The only place where it is known with certainty was largely destroyed by a fire in 1998 which was caused by a drought during an El Niño.[2]


  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 47. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b Leary, T.; Seri, L.; Flannery, T.; Wright, D.; Hamilton, S.; Helgen, K.; Singadan, R.; Menzies, J.; Allison, A.; James, R.; Salas, L.; Dickman, C. (2016). "Phalanger matanim". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T16851A21950802. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T16851A21950802.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.