The critically endangered western ringtail possum is one of our most threatened mammals yet the species is often sighted in gardens within cities of south-west Australia. Within residential areas we have little knowledge of where they move and what resources they require as previously we have focused on bushland to conserve these animals.
To answer some questions about suburban ringtails Bronte Van Helden, a PhD candidate with the University of Western Australia, is looking at the movement and resource use of western ringtail possums within residential landscapes. She aims to determine if western ringtail possums can live exclusively within gardens or if they still depend on natural bush.
She has captured 20 western ringtail possums in gardens using cages with a sweet smelling bait and attached a small collar with a radio-transmitter. Between June and August 2019 Bronte will track their movements during the day and night. The information from this study will improve our knowledge of this species within urban areas and assist with the conservation of them across their shrinking range.