Passel Estate continues to work closely with local conservation group FAWNA to relocate orphaned and rehabilitated Western Ringtail Possums on our property. The latest arrivals came to Passel Estate in mid-February and evidence suggests they are now thriving in their new home.
A total of three possums were released – a single male, Stanley, who was orphaned at a very young age; and two females, Sweet-Tooth and Emily, both rehabilitated after injuries. Because Stanley was looked after from a young age, he was very connected with his foster carer Lorri. She was understandably very nervous about releasing him into the big wide world; as such the release was a very emotional experience. Whilst the possum boxes for the two females were positioned in the centre of the native peppermint grove, Stanley’s box was placed toward the edge of the grove due to the presence of other resident males who might have taken objection to him moving in!
Because the possums were introduced at the hottest time of year, a number of water containers were positioned in the vicinity of their boxes (tied directly to the trees). Passel Estate’s tasting room staff and vineyard crew were responsible for topping up these water containers on a regular weekly basis, to ensure the possums did not risk coming down to ground level to seek alternative water sources. Fresh, young peppermint leaves were also delivered to the possum boxes twice weekly and eagerly consumed. Sweet-tooth remained very inquisitive, often popping her head out to greet those delivering the water and leaves (as shown in the photo above), whereas Emily and Stanley very quickly learned to do what wild possums do (ie. hide during the day).
We will soon be installing cameras to help us observe and monitor the progress of our passel of possums, while continuing our work to irrigate, protect and expand their bushland habitat for the future.