Western Ringtail Possums

The Western Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis) is a critically endangered arboreal marsupial that is only found in South Western Australia.

While once widespread from Perth to Albany, this species is now listed as critically endangered. It has been estimated that the remaining population size in the wild is less than 8,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing trend. Recent research predicts there is a 92% likelihood that they will be extinct within 20 years if action to protect populations and their habitat isn’t enacted immediately.

The Western Ringtail Possum occurs in the highest densities in coastal zones, where Peppermint trees (Agonis flexuosa) are a dominant species. Smaller populations occur within Jarrah Marri vegetation, including areas in the Margaret River region. Inland populations have been recorded in the Jarrah forests around Manjimup. Little is currently known about the abundance, distribution and habitat requirements of the species in the Margaret River Region.

Nature Conservation publications – Western Ringtail Possums and your Property and  Western Ringtail Possums – Self Guided Spotlight Tips provide detailed information about how to view and help conserve this critically endangered species.

Have you seen a Western ringtail possum? Sightings of this and other fauna and flora can be recorded and reported to the relevant agencies collating these records. See the Report What You See page for more details on where to send any records.

The Ringtail Tally is a great way to get involved in citizen science and help Western ringtail possum conservation efforts. Results from the 2021 tally have been turned into an infographic and can be downloaded here.

Western Ringtail Possum Conservation

Nature Conservation in partnership with the Augusta Margaret River Shire is working to better understanding local ringtail populations, protect local habitats and raise community awareness and engagement in ringtail conservation. Nature Conservation has recently secured funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program through the South West Catchments Council for a five year program to assist conservation of the species. The Augusta Margaret River Shire is providing a local contribution to the conservation program through its Environmental Management Fund.

The current Western ringtail possum conservation program includes:

Surveys to better understand ringtail distribution and habitat requirements –  a comprehensive survey of key habitat along the lower reaches of the Margaret River was undertaken in early 2019 to determine priority areas for conservation and habitat enhancement;  teams of citizen science volunteers are out and about surveying at 12 locations on the Wadandi Track and in key bushland reserves; and an Annual Possum Tally provides vital information on where possums live in local gardens and properties across the region.

127 surveys were completed across the 12 transects in 2019 and 138 surveys in 2020. 2021 sees the continuation of these quarterly transect surveys.

Habitat enhancement – 2.5 hectares of revegetation with native seedlings will be undertaken over the next 5 years to enhance local western ringtail possum habitats. 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.

2Ha of revegetation have been completed so far. All sites are along the Margaret River, adjacent to existing areas of Western ringtail possum habitat. In this way we can build the habitat available for the Western ringtail possum and increase the vegetation buffer currently found along the river.

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

For more information or to get involved in Western ringtail possum citizen science activities contact Lyndsey Cox at [email protected]

Get your free bin sticker

Local residents can receive a free bin sticker to help promote the Pets Away Possum Play campaign.

The Pets Away Possums Play campaign is aimed at encouraging local residents to keep their pets indoors at night, allowing wildlife to roam freely and safely across their habitats.

Western Ringtail Possums and other urban wildlife are active at night when they are most at risk of harm from pets. By containing cats and dogs at night, pet owners are also keeping their pets safe from car accidents and animal fights.

Residents can help promote the message, by collecting a bin sticker from Nature Conservation Office or Augusta Margaret River Shire Offices. For more information contact Lauren on 9757 2202 or [email protected].

Possum boxes!

Are you wanting to give a possum a home?

As an alternative to them taking up residence in your roof, or to encourage possums onto your property, nest boxes are now available at the Margaret River Men’s Shed.

Boxes for both Western ringtail possums and Brushtail possums designed to Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions specifications are now available for just $40 each.

Drop into the Men’s shed at the Old Settlement on Mon, Wed and Friday between 8.30 am to 12.00pm to order your box or contact Terry Hutchings on 0428 909 198. Boxes are not kept on site due to space restrictions.

Presentations from the recent 'Western ringtail possum conservation in the Margaret River Region'