Another One Bites The Dust.
Possums are a huge problem in the New Zealand native bush. They were introduced in the mid 1800’s and while the population grew slowly at first, the numbers eventually exploded, until at their peak in the 1980’s there were between 70 and 80 million possums living in NZ. They not only destroy our forests, but they have been filmed eating the eggs, chicks and even the adults of many of our native bird species. They also eat invertebrates such as NZ wetas and some of our rare native snails.
But it is to our native plants and trees that they do the most damage. Consider this, today there are about 35 million possums in New Zealand, (that’s more possums than sheep!!) and in just one night those possums can eat their way through 12,000 tonnes of leaves, fruits, blossoms and shoots. That works out to be over 4 million tonnes of vegetation each year. No wonder we don’t like them here in New Zealand.
We have been trapping them in the Waitaia as part of our work with Project Kiwi for the last few years. Sonja wasn’t too keen to be introduced to this one but she did agree to have her photo taken with it.