New homes for Western Ringtail Possums at Busselton schools

Primary school students in Busselton have been briefed about how they can help save the Western Ringtail Possum.

GeoCatch installed possum boxes at Geographe, Busselton and West Busselton Primary School along with St Mary MacKillop College.

GeoCatch officer Nicole Lincoln delivered a presentation to students and The Arbor Guy’s Dan Croley installed the boxes in trees on school grounds.

The boxes will provide alternative nesting options for the critically endangered animal, encourage them out of school roofs and give greater protection from predators.

Students will take part in monitoring the success of the new homes in 2018.

Ms Lincoln explained to students that possums were territorial creatures.

“If they find a home they like, they want to stay there, if they are removed they are often known to try and seek out that home again and can be killed in the process,” she said.

Students learned peppermint trees were the Western Ringtail’s favourite food, only 8000 remain in the area and around 200 were killed each year by predators and habitat destruction.

Ms Lincoln told students people could play a part in preserving the species.

“As they are critically endangered, there is a very high likelihood of them not being alive by the time you are 25,” she said to students at Geographe Primary School.

“When we have the opportunity to use our skills and intelligence, we should be planning to build around these big old trees whenever we can.

“The best thing we can do is leave the trees, keep planting trees and maintain fabulous habitat around the schools.”

Busselton Men Shed designed the boxes to be comfortable and not too hot for the possums.

The project was supported by funding from the state government’s natural resource management program.