Wildcare Inc. NT

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Possum Survival Study

In 2007 Wildcare Incorporated in Darwin (Wildcare) obtained a grant from Perpetual Trustees to study the post release survival of rehabilitated Northern Brush Tailed Possums (Trichosurus arnhemensis), in conjunction with the Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment the Arts and Sport (NRETAS).

The study aimed to gain an understanding of factors relating to the survival of possums post release in order to improve management and rehabilitation of possums in care, to increase possum survival and to educate the wider community on possum behaviour.

The study involved radio-tracking 42 Northern Brush Tailed Possums (NBTP) released between October 2007 and May 2009 with tracking continuing until September 2009. Results indicate that snakes appeared to be the major predator.

Some possums were unable to cope with relocation and release and died within 10 days. However, 70% of the possums released during the study survived for more than 10 days post release with one monitored for many months. Current rehabilitation practices appear adequate for the survival of most possums but some would benefit from closer assessment prior to release and increased predator awareness.

Download Possum Survival Study (PDF 327kB)