Five year funding boost for Western ringtail possum

Good news for Western ringtail possums in the Margaret River region. Nature Conservation has secured funding of $196,000 over 5 years from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program (NLP) through the South West Catchments Council aimed at better understanding local ringtail populations, protecting local habitats and raising community awareness and engagement in ringtail conservation.

The funding is part of a larger threatened species project being delivered by the South West Catchment Council (SWCC) focusing on 5 threatened species including the Numbat, Woylie, Chuditch, Mallee Fowl and Western ringtail possum.

A local contribution towards the 5 year program has also been received from the Shire’s 2018/19 Environmental Management Fund. Among a raft of other successful grant applications approved by Council at its meeting on Wednesday 14 November,  Nature Conservation will receive the sum of $22,700 towards Western ringtail possum conservation during 2018/19.

Nature Conservation thanks the Shire for its continuing commitment to Western ringtail possum conservation and looks forward to its continuing partnership to protect this critically endangered species in the Margaret River region.

The 5 year Western ringtail possum conservation program includes surveys in strategic locations to better understand ringtail distribution and habitat requirements –  a comprehensive survey of key habitat along the lower reaches of the Margaret River will be undertaken in early 2019 to determine priority areas for conservation and habitat enhancement;  teams of citizen science volunteers are already out and about surveying at 12 locations on the Wadandi Track and in key bushland reserves; and an annual Spring Possum Tally will provide vital information on where possums live in local gardens and properties across the region.

In parallel 2.5 hectares of revegetation with native seedlings will be undertaken over the 5 year period to enhance local western ringtail possum habitat. Volunteers, school groups and local businesses will be encouraged to get involved in planting activities and make a difference to the strategic habitats that support Western ringtail possums.

Community awareness raising and engagement activities will include regular community spotlighting activities in local reserves, community presentations highlighting the conservation status of the Western ringtail possum and citizen science training events.