Possum funds secured

By Grace Jones | posted on December 7, 2017

THE Great Southern has received more than $900,000 in state funding from the State Natural Resource Management Program, with the Oyster Harbour Catchment Group receiving funding for four of their projects.

The Catchment Group works to improve the health of the Oyster Harbour region and rivers feeding into it.

Group Project Officer Claire Bartron said the approval of funding will ensure the continuation of the larger scale work of the group.

“We’re pretty much solely reliant on external funding on a federal and state level,” she said.

“There are large scale projects we want to achieve that would not be possible without government assistance.

“We received funding for one of our projects related to studying the Western Ringtail Possum that is labeled as critically endangered in our region.”

Ms Bartron said the funding the group received will help to study how the possums use urban routes through backyards and parks to return to bush land, and record the amount of possums found in urban areas that have been killed by cars.

“We have people like Sandra Gilfillan that have been actively recording possum activity in their backyards, and we were also spotlighting and recording the number of possums in the Porongurup as well,” she said.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into what we do.”

Ms Gilfillan is a wildlife ecologist with the catchment group, and has been part of the Albany Backyard Possum Sleuth Program since its inception in 2016.

“Ringtail possums have such fantastic personalities, and we’re so lucky as a city to have this kind of wildlife roaming around,” she said.

“At the moment we have 10 backyards in Albany set up with remote sensing cameras that record possum movement.”

Ringtail possums have a reputation of eating roses and running across roofs, which Ms Gilfillan said is easy enough to prevent.

“They’re beautiful creatures, and definitely not a pest in any stretch of the imagination,” she said.

“People can set up nesting boxes in their yard or on their roof and plant peppermint trees, and it will keep the possums happy.”