Busselton and Dunsborough residents have turned their torches to the trees for the 2022 Western Ringtail Possum Tally. An increase in participation by residents in the annual Ringtail Tally has helped improve the understanding of western ringtail possum habitat in urban backyards and public open space. In its 7th consecutive year, the Tally builds a reliable set of baseline data in the Geographe Bay Catchment and across the south-west.
The total number of possums this year was comparable with previous years, suggesting that the population of ringtails in urban backyards is stable. This is a positive trend and has been repeated across participating regions including Peel-Yalgorup, Bunbury, Busselton, Margaret River and Albany.
Nicole Lincoln from GeoCatch reminded participants to continue their efforts in looking after their local possum populations. “This is not a time to become complacent but a time to recognise the importance of continuing to keep cats indoors or in catios, and dogs inside at night to reduce injury and death to the critically endangered western ringtail possums.”
Across all surveys, cars and traffic are still the dominant cause of ringtail mortality, while fox and cat predation are hard to monitor and largely undetected. “This is a good reminder to slow down when driving at night, keep cats inside and provide possum boxes for habitat,” said DBCA Regional Ecologist Geoff Barret.
Since its inception, the Tally has expanded beyond the original Geographe Bay Area. Nature Conservation Margaret River, Leschenault Catchment Council, Oyster Harbour Catchment Council and Wirambi Landcare now run the project with their local communities, making it a truly regional event.
The ongoing success of the Tally is not possible without the generous contribution of community participants, DBCA and partner organisations.
This project is supported by the South West Catchment Council, through funding from the Australian Government. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions assists GeoCatch with the collation of this vital information into the Western Ringtail Possum Database which allows for better understanding of our local possum populations, and to assist in protecting this species in the future.
For more information on the annual Ringtail Tally, visit Ringtail Tally | GeoCatch