Building resilience, knowledge and protection – Western Ringtail Possum – Albany Stronghold (April 2019-June 2022)
Project Value $646,552
State NRM, our local community, South Coast NRM, Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee,Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, City of Albany, Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development, Animal Pest Management Services, University of Western Australia, Bunnings Albany, Primaries of WA, Rays Firearms and Archery, Trailblazers, Coles Orana, PF Olsen Tree Farms, Landmark Albany, Nannygoat Junction Cheese, Mt Barker Transport
This project takes in the greater Torbay Catchment which includes the Western part of the town of Albany the Torndirrup Peninsula, extends north to Redmond and west to Lowlands(see Map). It also covers the lower and eastern portion of the Wilson Inlet Catchment extending west to include the town of Denmark. The greater Torbay catchment contains the important coastal macro-corridor, which links West Cape Howe National Park to Torndirrup National Park which allows animal movement across the landscape.
In 2018, TCG ran 2 small projects, one aimed at learning more about the critically endangered WRP and the other focussing on feral animal control. Through the works we undertook, we now understand that: our catchment is extremely important for the possum in terms of climate, habitat and location; and that feral predators, mainly the fox is in very high numbers in our catchment and where no feral animal control is occurring possum numbers are low.
There are 3 stronghold populations for Western Ringtail Possums. They are Busselton, Manjimup and Albany. The Albany population is seen as increasingly important as the risk posed from climate change is far less. Until recently it was not understood that the greater Torbay catchment represents a signiﬁcant area of the Albany stronghold population. Torbay Catchment Group (TCG) and Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee (WICC) have partnered to continue survey work on public and private land to identify how far west and north the population extends.
This project will:
• address knowledge gaps through on ground surveys and desktop data analyses;
• reduce feral predators on public and private land through baiting, shooting and trapping;
• identify important north-south landscape linkages to inform strategic revegetation;
• protect critical WRP habitat through installing stock exclusion fencing; and
• raise awareness through a series of different events.
Collaboration with our partners will ensure eﬃcient delivery of on-ground works.
The project builds on investments and community good will developed through previous projects. It supports our local communities and reinstates feral predator control in our much loved and iconic West Cape Howe National Park (WCHNP), part of the important coastal macro-corridor. The outcome will be greater knowledge, improved protection and resilience for the WRP population and a better informed community, united in protection eﬀorts.