Leschenault Catchment Council open Western Ringtail Possum sanctuary

Opening: Shire of Dardanup environment officer Jacquie Nicholl, acting shire president Tyrrell Gardiner and Leschenault Catchment Council's Katrina Zeehandelaar-Adams. Picture: Jemillah Dawson.
Opening: Shire of Dardanup environment officer Jacquie Nicholl, acting shire president Tyrrell Gardiner and Leschenault Catchment Council's Katrina Zeehandelaar-Adams. Picture: Jemillah Dawson.

Fostering the population of the Western Ringtail possum as well educating people about its environment is the goal of a new sanctuary opened in Eaton.

The Leschenault Catchment Council and the Shire of Dardanup partnered up on the project which has transformed part of the Leicester Wetlands, near the Collie River into a possum sanctuary.

Catchment council Biodiversity Program Manager Katrina Zeehandelaar-Adams said the area had become a monoculture of eucalyptus rudis that had been planted by developers about 20 years ago.

After the council received a grant from the Landcare Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grants last year as well as money from the shire and the help of volunteers, they began to replace the eucalyptus with a diversity of locally occurring native species, including ground covers and peppermints.

Ms Zeehandelaar-Adams said the new plants would provide more suitable habitat for the western ringtail possum and in turn other native fauna that occur along the Collie River.

"We have also laid a natural path that meanders through the sanctuary, which is dotted with interpretive signage," she said.

"The intended use of this space is for groups and community to come and learn about the western ringtail possum and hold night stalks here."

Shire of Dardanup environment officer Jackie Nichol approached the council with the idea of the sanctuary and helped drive the project.

Ms Zeehandelaar-Adams said shire staff and volunteers were critical to the success of the sanctuary with planting days, busy bees and supporting the project at events and workshops.