The Australian brushtailed possum was introduced to New Zealand in 1837 to create a fur trade. Without natural predators and with a plentiful food supply, their numbers exploded and possums are now altering and depleting the flora and fauna of our native forest ecosystems across New Zealand. In our gardens too, possums that are present will enjoy a good nibble and like to eat the new growth of fruit trees and the buds of roses.
One group addressing this challenge is the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group who are in the process of reducing possum numbers with the goal of some day completely eradicating them on the Otago Peninsula here in Dunedin.
Why have they taken on this goal and what can we learn from them? How can we tell if the trees on our property are being damaged by possums? What can we do to manage possum numbers? And importantly what humane methods are available to us?
On this programme, I chat with Cathy Rufaut and Rod Morris about URBAN POSSUM CONTROL.
Cathy is the new Project Manager of OPBG, as from April 1st 2014. She has a PhD in ecology and a Diploma in Wildlife Management. Prior to coming to this position she was involved with several projects monitoring bird, lizard and invertebrate populations following predator control or eradication programmes. She lives with her family in Portobello. Rod has worked with OPBG since they started their Peninsula-wide campaign. He is a well known photographer and conservationist, who has been living at The Cove for 15 years. He has worked extensively on his property to control pests, weeds and bring back a rich flora and fauna.
This programme was originally broadcast on the 18th September 2014 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is supported by the Dunedin City Council.