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.
The Threatened Species Recovery Hub is receiving an additional $2 million to deliver research and scientific advice to help support wildlife and habitat recovery efforts following Australia’s bushfire crisis. The rapid rollout of meetings and expert workshops that were planned as part of this response now faces the added and acute challenge of COVID-19.
Predation by cats is a key threat to at least 123 threatened species in Australia. Better understanding and reducing the impact of feral cats on susceptible wildlife has been a major area of research for the Threatened Species Recovery Hub. Hub Deputy Directors Professors Sarah Legge and John Woinarski take a look at our research to address Australia’s cat problem.
The 2019–20 bushfires have been extensive and – in some areas – of very high severity. Many threatened species have had most of their distributions burnt, and fire is likely to have imperilled many species not previously considered threatened. One of the post-fire challenges to population recovery that many native species will face is increased risk of predation, including by introduced foxes and cats.
Australia has many unique small- to medium-sized mammals, which are vulnerable to predation by cats and foxes, two carnivores introduced to the continent with European arrival. For many of these species, effective conservation means heavy or total suppression of cats and/or foxes.
Oliver Tester from the Office of the Threatened Species Commissioner tells us about the Australian Government’s action on feral cats.