Possums in urban gardens in Albany and Bunbury have been in the spot light in January and February. In particular, Dr Rochelle Steven from the University
of Queensland and Bronte Van Helden a PhD Candidate from the University of Western Australia, have been on the look out for the critically endangered
western ringtail possum.
With help from citizen scientist residents they have been undertaking mammal surveys in the two cities to look for the presence of both native and introduced mammals, including common brush-tailed possums, western ring-tailed possums, quenda and rats. They also took echo-meter recordings which will be analysed to check for the presence of microbats.
The surveys will help us better understand the urban mammal communities residing in the two cities.
Bronte Van Helden from the University of Western Australia is working with resident citizen scientists to survey gardens for mammals in Albany. Photo: Paul Close.
Many of Australia’s possums and gliders are under threat. Good information about where different species are greatly assists conservation programs. Members of the public can play a valuable role in helping to collect this information in their own backyards, and surrounding parks and natural areas.
Red foxes are one of the greatest threats to Australia’s native mammals and pose a major risk to livestock. To combat this, Australia spends more than $16 million per year on red fox control, with much of that money directed to poison baiting.
An international study led by The Australian National University has found a fungal disease has caused dramatic population declines in more than 500 amphibian species, including 90 extinctions, over the past 50 years.
The world is changing. Some of this change is planned and desirable. But much else is an unwanted consequence of the expansion of the human species. Those unwanted impacts will affect our lives and those of our descendants.
After undergraduate majors in Geography, Environmental Science and Botany, I did my PhD on native grasslands. I was struck by how these Critically Endangered ecosystems existing right on the edge of my city were being lost without most people even knowing about them – or understanding what amazing, super diverse ecosystems they are.