Western ringtail possums – precious or pesky?

Dr Rochelle StevenBusselton Dunsborough Times
Do you consider the western ringtail possum precious or pesky?
Camera IconDo you consider the western ringtail possum precious or pesky? Credit: supplied.

Our western ringtail possums – precious or pesky? Please tell us.

Chances are, you can answer that question pretty quickly, but if you haven’t had a close encounter yet, you might not have even thought about it.

Personally, I find them super cute and love seeing them scurry along the fence line at night time or gallop across the roof.

In fact I feel very lucky – imagine if it was an orang-utan or tiger; all are globally threatened species, but the ringie is in my backyard.

The public profile of this critically endangered species has been the subject of a Threatened Species Recovery Hub this last year and a half with surprising and exciting results discovered here in the South West.

You see, the western ringtail possum is not the only species that, despite being threatened with extinction, suffers with some public relations issues.

They can keep you awake running around in your roof or they eat your treasured garden plants.

I can empathise with these frustrations.

The research we are doing hopes to learn more about these conflicts (including just how prevalent they really are) and find solutions to nip those conflicts in the bud.

So how can you help us learn more?

Our project has developed a free citizen science monitoring portal for all possums and gliders in Australia.

As part of the CAUL Urban Wildlife App, we have put together a super easy to use tool that will allow you to share your sightings of possums and gliders, nationwide, with the scientific research community, as well as the Atlas of Living Australia and Global Biodiversity Inventory Facility.

That’s a lot of words to say, your sightings will be put to good use to learn more about our wildlife and how they are doing living with us.

You will be able to tell us what species you are observing, how many and what they are doing – including if they are in your roof or eating your garden plants.

You’ll also be able to tell us if you are happy (or not) to see the species in your backyard.

So why not be part of the solution to conserving a threatened species and help us find ways to make sharing the environment enjoyable for all of us.

Download the CAUL Urban Wildlife App now and start your citizen science journey.

Follow @threatenedspeciesrecoveryhub on Facebook and @earthlywellbeing on Instagram for project updates.

Dr Rochelle Steven

- Threatened Species Recovery Hub - University of Queensland - Busselton Community Member

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