Possums removed from tree

Chloe FraserBusselton Dunsborough Times

A western ringtail possum and its baby have been removed from a tree after being trapped in a construction site on Wednesday.

Contractors were removing trees on the corner of West and Duchess Streets in Busselton to accommodate a carpark development at the Busselton Central shopping centre when locals spotted a western ringtail possum in the top branches of a peppermint tree.

Resident Jo Abbott said she saw the possum from the road and immediately notified construction workers and other authorities.

Planning and Development Services director Paul Needham said while there was no need to obtain local, State or Federal Government approvals to remove the tree, developers were required to meet the conditions of the Wildlife Act 1950.

Mr Needham said the City was aware of community concern about vegetation removal in the area and the broader loss of western ringtail possum habitat, and the City had plans to provide replacement plantings, including some mature peppermint trees.

However, FAWNA vice-president Suzanne Strapp said habitat destruction was the main threat to the already critically endangered species and the tree was a primary source of nutrition.

“The peppermint tree is it’s primary source of nutrition,” she said.

“You can’t just take down trees which are hundreds of years old and plant another because the nutrients come from the ground.”

The animals were taken to Geo Vet for a health inspection on Wednesday before being released to a suitable area.

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