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AustraliaFeral animal eradication leads to rare brushtail possum sighting in WA national park

01:41  08 november  2018
01:41  08 november  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula, from the Greek for "furry tailed" and the Latin for "little fox", previously in the genus Phalangista) is a nocturnal

The sense of sight of this animal is very poor; that’s why they use their nose for survival and of course when searching for food, particularly in the darkness. This extinct animal can be found in the wilds of Southeast Asia. There are approximately 60 rhinos in Java that live at the Ujung Kulon National Park .

Feral animal eradication leads to rare brushtail possum sighting in WA national park© AAP A brushtail possum has been seen for the first time in WA's north, after extensive work to eradicate foreign predatory animals. The telltale sound of a brushtail possum on the roof may be annoying for some, but the discovery of the species in WA's north is a sign that the eradication of foreign predators has been successful.

A brushtail possum was pictured in Kalbarri National Park, 485km north of Perth, in the first documented sighting of the species in northern WA.

It was caught on a remote sensing camera, used to monitor black-flanked rock wallabies that were reintroduced to the park last year.

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The brushtail possums are the members of the genus Trichosurus in the Phalangeridae, a family of marsupials. They are unique among marsupials for having shifted the hypaxial muscles from the epipubic to the pelvis, much like in placental muscles

The brushtail possum , one of the most familiar Australian animals , is a tree-dwelling marsupial found in woodlands and forests across NSW. With strong claws, opposable digits, and a bushy, prehensile tail, brushtail possums are agile climbers, which helps them to forage for fruits, flowers and leaves

Brushtail possums are common in WA's south-west but there are very few records of the species existing north of Geraldton.

Kalbarri National Park senior ranger Mike Paxman said it was an unexpected discovery.

"We were going through the camera data and one of our staff members spotted the brushtail possum," he said.

"It was quite exciting for us, we did not actually know that brushtails occurred in the park.

"Obviously they have survived here for a long time, always been here but I guess their presence went totally unknown."

Lack of predators means natives are thriving

The sighting comes after extensive work to reintroduce the black-flanked rock wallaby to the park.

To do so the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions needed to eradicate predators like feral cats, foxes and wild goats using an extensive baiting and culling program.

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The possum is a medium-sized marsupial that is natively found in Australia , Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi, which is a tropical island found in the Indonesian Archipelago. Today the possum has also been introduced to New Zealand and parts of China.There are

The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is a major agricultural and conservation pest in New Zealand. In Māori it is called paihamu. European settlers aiming to establish a wild source for food and fibre and fur pelts for clothing introduced the common brushtail possum from Australia to New

It means native species are able to thrive without the threat of being killed or having their natural food source depleted.

Mr Paxman said while the park was monitored more extensively now, it was a sign that more than 20 years of fox and cat baiting had been successful.

"Obviously now we are monitoring things better, we've got better information and we are observing things a lot more than we did on an ongoing basis," he said.

"But certainly the baiting program has helped the survivorship of the possum and the black-flanked rock wallaby, which still survives in the park."

"I think in the absence of that baiting, the possum would have died out because of predation by foxes predominantly."

Rare sighting promising sign

While there was anecdotal evidence from the Nanda people, who have seen brushtail possums in the park, it was the first official recording of the species.

Mr Paxman said the sighting was a promising sign that native species were on the rise in the park.

"It is all part of the tapestry, the sort of fabric of the park," he said.

"These animals all perform very important functions within the environment here as well.

"And for the tourists, they are cute and cuddly — it is always good to have charismatic mega fauna for tourists to look at."

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