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Helping Western Ringtail Possums

The Western Ringtail Possum (WRP) is a critically endangered species, which is unique to the South West of WA. Ringtails are special to Busselton and Dunsborough because this area has one of the most significant remaining populations.

  • Photo credit: Alison Stewart

  • Where do WRP’s live?
  • Western Ringtail possums were once widely spread across the south west from Perth to Albany. However, due to extensive land clearing for agriculture and urban development, the western ringtail possum has now declined to less than 10% of its original geographical range.
  • It is estimated that there are less than 8,000 western ringtail possums remaining in the wild, with a decreasing trend.
  • Busselton and Dunsborough urban areas support one of the last major populations of ringtails. Protection of ringtails within the coastal strip from Busselton to Dunsborough is therefore essential for the survival of the species.
  • Many of us are lucky enough to have this native endangered species living in our backyards! We can all do our bit to help the Western Ringtail Possum to ensure this unique species of marsupial doesn’t become extinct.
  • Read the Recovery Plan for the Western Ringtail PossumProcedures to minimise the risk to Western Ringtail Possums during clearing of vegetation and building demolitionFAQ fact sheet on the Western Ringtail Possum.
  • You can help by:
  • – Involving your school with the Peppies for Possums Lesson Plan Series
  • – Participate in the annual Possum Tally -View Possum Tally Snapshot results here: 2016  2017
  • – Reporting all sightings of Ringtails (dead or alive) on a  Fauna Report Form
  •    Keeping cats and dogs in at night – Create a Katzone
  • – Preserving mature Peppermint Trees (Agonus flexuosa) and other native vegetation. The Western Ringtail possum predominantly eats peppermint leaves.
  • – Planting Peppermint Trees and other native plants in your garden – Possum Friendly species list
  • – Putting a Possum Box in your garden to provide a home for a possum – View Possum Box Design
  • – Providing water by hanging a water bowl in a safe elevated place
  • – If using rodent or snail baits place them where Ringtails can’t access them
  • – Keeping the lid on your barbecue shut to prevent curious Ringtails getting their feet burned
  • – Disposing of rubbish responsibly
  • – Never catching or handling Ringtails unless you are undertaking a rescue
  • – Driving with caution at night when Ringtails are the most active.
  • – Join the Western Ringtail Action Group (WRAG) a community group interested in the conservation of Ringtails and their habitat. Contact GeoCatch for more information.

 

  • If you have found an injured or orphaned Ringtail, there are a few simple steps to remember:
  1. Wrap the animal in a towel blanket or jumper or similar to keep it warm and place in a ventilated cardboard box in a quiet, safe place. If the animal is injured, take it to your local vet immediately. Do not try to feed it or give it a drink.
  2. If you are not sure what to do, call FAWNA 0438526 660 or the WILDCARE HELPLINE 9474 9055 (both available after business hours).
  3. If you find a possum on the ground, call FAWNA for advice before removing the animal from the spot where you found it.
  4. If you require any additional advice regarding the general care and habitat requirements of possums, the Possum Centre Busselton 9754 7226.

To assist in conservation research, please report sightings of living or deceased Western Ringtail possums to the Department of Parks and Wildlife website or contact the Department Conservation, Biodiversity and Attractions in Busselton on 97525555 or 97525533.