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The western ringtail possum, Pseudocheirus occidentalis, (Thomas, 1888)

de Tores, P., Wayne, A., Warren, K.ORCID: 0000-0002-9328-2013, Calver, M.ORCID: 0000-0001-9082-2902, Fleming, P., Spencer, P.ORCID: 0000-0002-4938-2615, Bencini, R., Clarke, J., Grimm, H., Bryant, G., Wilson, K., Yokochi, K. and Elscot, S. (2010) The western ringtail possum, Pseudocheirus occidentalis, (Thomas, 1888). In: Threatened Species Research Forum, 9 July, Perth, Western Australia.

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Listed as a threatened species in Western Australia, nationally and internationally, the western ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis) is restricted to the south-west corner of Western Australia. Despite this, the current known geographic range of P. occidentalis is considerably different from, and more expansive than, published accounts from the 1990s. This most likely represents an increase in knowledge of the species’ distribution. Recognised threats to the species persistence include habitat loss, predation, inappropriate fire regimes and effects from climate change. The most immediate threat to persistence of P. occidentalis is habitat loss associated with rapid urban expansion in the greater Bunbury, Busselton and Albany areas and introduced predators more broadly. Attempts to mitigate the effects from habitat loss have historically focused on translocation which has met with some success. Low density populations have established at translocation release sites within Yalgorup National Park and dispersal of recruits has been confirmed from genetic analyses. Genetic studies have also revealed no evidence of historic or contemporary mixing of in situ (naturally occurring) populations separated by as little as 30 km and with no physical barriers to dispersal or movement. This raises immediate concerns for, and conservation interest in, several recently confirmed populations, including those at Dawesville and Binningup, where development and habitat clearing is proposed. The conservation significance of these populations, in terms of genetics and demographics, is not known.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
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