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Possum-friendly properties

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The South West Catchments Council has launched an education campaign to help residents live harmoniously with possums and make their gardens safer for possums to play.

Creating a possum-friendly garden with peppermint trees is one way residents can help protect the critically endangered western ringtail possum.

Due to habitat loss, the majority of ringtails are now found in urban areas in the South West in close proximity to their main food source, peppermint trees.

Millbridge residents Emma and Brooklyn Burgess have joined the campaign, recently winning a peppermint tree prize at SWCC’s possum information marquee at the Dolphin Discovery Centre open day.

SWCC program manager Dr Brian Chambers said many families and individuals surveyed said they felt special co-habitating with possums and wanted to do everything they could to protect them.

Dr Chambers said many people did not realise that their cats and dogs were threatening the possums at night time when the species was most active.

“A large proportion of the western ringtail possum population is found in urban areas so to have any chance of saving the ringtails from extinction we all need to learn how to live more harmoniously with them in the suburbs,” he said.

“SWCC has information and strategies on how to reduce the impact of our beloved dogs and cats on possums, as well as keeping possums out of roof spaces and providing alternative nesting sites.”

SWCC and the Leschenault Catchment Council will be running a series of engagement workshops, planting days and citizen science activities in the Greater Bunbury region over 2019.

The first of these events was a possum conservation workshop in Gelorup on Monday 11 March, which attracted more than 60 budding citizen scientists.

This project is supported by the South West Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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