Under starry skies, families and friends enjoyed spot-lighting for the critically endangered Western Ringtail Possum this school holidays.
Over two nights 70 grandparents, parents, teenagers, and children gathered in bushland locations in Busselton and Dunsborough to experience this iconic species up close in its natural habitat.
Participants were treated to an informative possum talk by FAWNA and wildlife carers, before setting off into the darkness to spot possums. Trills of excitement were heard as torches uncovered baby possums snuggling close to mother possums, possums swinging from branches and possums quietly grooming themselves on nearby branches.
These night walks are a wonderful way to create awareness about the Western Ringtail Possum and how lucky we are to share our backyards with the species. They also provide an opportunity for the community to understand that although possums appear abundant in our backyards and often our roofs, they are actually in danger of extinction from loss of habitat, road kill and predation by pets and other animals.
“It is estimated that only 8000 Western Ringtail Possums remain in the whole world and that the Busselton and Dunsborough areas support the last stronghold population of this iconic species” said GeoCatch project officer Nicole Lincoln.
“They are now critically endangered and we need to work to protect this species now more than ever”, said Nicole.
Actions to help protect the Western Ringtail Possum include, planting native trees and keep existing trees, practicing responsible pet ownership by keeping cats and dogs inside at night when possums are active, installing possum boxes in gardens and slowing down when driving in possum habitat areas which are sign posted around the City of Busselton.
Community members are also invited to participate in the Ringtail Tally survey, open until May 13. Register for the Ringtail Tally via the GeoCatch website events page https://geocatch.asn.au/event/ringtail-tally-autumn-2018/ or contact GeoCatch via phone 9781 0111, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Keep your eye out for the next round of possum night walks being held during the September/ October school holidays.
This project is supported by funding from the WA State Government’s NRM Program.