Keep your pets inside at night….so possums feel safe to forage, feed and thrive!
We launched our ‘Pets Away, Possums Play’ campaign on World Wildlife Day, 3 March 2019. The campaign has been designed to act as a prompt to remind pet owners that keeping pets (cats and dogs) contained at night reduces injury and death to the critically endangered Western Ringtail Possum.
The campaign kicked off over the March long weekend, with GeoCatch staff and volunteers using temporary spray chalk to stencil the ‘Pets away, Possum play’ message on footpaths, vet and school entrances and in public areas within the City of Busselton. The stencilling attracted a lot of attention from the community, successfully spreading the message that we all have a role to play in helping the long term survival of the Western Ringtail Possum.
GeoCatch Project Officer Nicole Lincoln was pleased with the success of the campaign, and says it was a great start to helping the community understand that being a responsible pet owner helps to protect the possums and other native wildlife.
“At a minimum, pets (cats and dogs) should be contained at night (between dusk to dawn) because this is the time possums and wildlife are active and most at risk of injury and death caused by hunting and curious pets,” she said.
“Pets are also most at risk during this time from other roaming pets that have the potential to injure and cause death to pets by transmission of disease, animal fights, exposure to poisons and car incidents.”
‘Pets away, Possum play’ has come about in response to local evidence suggesting that the greatest known causes of death to possums and wildlife in our catchment are cats, dogs, motor vehicles, and habitat loss. It is also accepted in the scientific arena that cats prey on more than 186 kinds of native Australian birds, 64 mammals, 87 reptiles and 10 species of amphibian and numerous invertebrates.
The chalk stencils are just the start of the campaign, with more ‘Pets away, Possum play’ events and activities planned
to help educate the community on responsible pet ownership throughout the Geographe Catchment.
Pets Away Possums Play is delivered by GeoCatch with support from South West Catchments Council, through the Australia Government’s National Landcare Program, and the State NRM Program, in the Geographe Catchment.