A partnership project between the South West Catchments Council (SWCC) and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) has been developed to secure the unique genetics of a Western Ringtail Possum population from the Southern Forests region against extinction.
The Western Ringtail Possum is a state and nationally listed threatened species, with a vulnerable conservation status.
Between 1998 to 2001 Western Ringtail Possum populations have declined by more than 90 per cent in the Southern Forests region of Western Australia.
“Since 2016 we have translocated 18 ‘Southern Forest’ Western Ringtail Possums into the Perup Sanctuary,” said Peter Bamess, Regional Leader Nature Conservation for DBCA.
The Perup Sanctuary is a 420-hectare predator free enclosure, giving translocated possums the best chance of survival and breeding.
The initial phase of the project involved comprehensive on ground surveys to locate possums in the ‘Southern Forest’ region for the translocation.
To determine the success of the translocation, radio collars, remote sensor cameras, on-ground surveys and spotlighting are some of the monitoring methods being used.
“Monitoring of collared animals has been undertaken weekly over the last year,” said Mr Bamess.
“In addition, animals have been tracked to location during the day on a monthly basis to determine habitat and refuge usage and tracked at night on a quarterly basis to observe behaviour and signs of breeding.”
SWCC Biodiversity Project Manager Jenelle Schult said: “Following the translocation of the Western Ringtail Possum’s into the Perup Sanctuary, monitoring of the released animals will occur for two years. The information gathered will determine the success of translocation as a conservation action for this threatened species.”
This project is supported by SWCC, through funding from DBCA and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
For further info contact Jenelle Schult at SWCC on 97813 118 or [email protected]