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Helping Western Ringtail Possums

The Western Ringtail Possum is critically endangered and endemic to the south west of Western Australia. The highest density and most significant population of ringtails is found in Busselton and Dunsborough.

  • Photo credit: Alison Stewart

  • Distribution
  • 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 ringtail population has now declined to less than 10% of its original geographical range.
  • It is estimated that there are less than 8,000 ringtails 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 is therefore essential for the survival of the species.
  • Many of us are lucky enough to have this native endangered species living in our backyard! 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. Ringtails predominantly eat peppermint leaves.
  • – Planting Peppermint trees and other native plants in your garden – Plants for the Possum Friendly Garden
  • – 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 us 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, 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 0438 526 660 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.

To assist in conservation research, please report sightings of living or deceased Western Ringtail possums to Parks and Wildlife website or contact the Department Conservation, Biodiversity and Attractions in Busselton on 9752 5555 or 9752 5533.