Scientists believe that eradicating feral cats will help boost numbers of an endangered possum in Western Australia’s south-west.
The western ringtail possum is a vulnerable and threatened species.
The Department of Environment and Conservation will first trial non-toxic baits in forests near Bunbury, Dwellingup, Narrogin and Pingelly.
If successful, toxic baits for cats will be trialed in bushland near Bunbury, which is home to western ringtails.
Fauna program leader Keith Morris says radio tracking of possums have proven that cats are now the biggest threat against the possums.
“Where we have been controlling foxes we get a reasonable improvement in possum numbers but, after a certain amount of time, feral cats then increase in abundance and they then prey on ringtail possums,” he said.
“We have been able to show that feral cats in fact become the issue after fox control has been implemented.”