Monday, June 14, 2010

My World Tuesday/save the world: Possums verses 1080

This golden possum is a cousin of the less colourful possum that was introduced in 1837 from Australia. Now, there are 30 million possums in New Zealand - that's about 7 per person! Possums will munch through around 9,000 tonnes of leaves, berries and fruit every night.

Many trees in Australia have possum defences such as spines, prickles or poisonous leaves – ours don’t! Possums in Australia have a lot more parasites, and more predators than in New Zealand. They are a protected animal over there.

In New Zealand possums have no natural enemies. That is why possum numbers increased so fast. The possum is not protected in New Zealand, it is a pest. The possum is doing a lot of damage to the native plants, animals and birds.

When I was visiting the Currumbim sanctuary, the Aussies jokingly booed the kiwis for killing the possum.

In the 1940s, New Zealand declared war on possums.

Millions of dollars have been spent trying to get rid of possums to protect the New Zealand environment from possum destruction since.....
DoC staff have also been busy getting rid of possums in New Zealand's national parks and conservation land through baiting and trapping.
Farmers, conservationists regional councils, land owners and businesses have also been working hard by setting traps and laying bait to kill possums.
The staff at the Department of Conservation and Landcare have been doing research about possums to learn the best ways to kill them or stop them from having babies.

Four years ago, I visited an old farmer. He told me the poisoning of possums have improved the landscape. The once dying native pohutukawa trees were now flowering beautifully. Possum fur is even warmer than sheep's wool.

The scientist have developed a poison 1080 to kill the possums. 1080 is an animal poison used to control targeted animal pests, particularly possums. It is now the most common and most controversial poison for possum control. It has been used in New Zealand since the 1950s. It is especially lethal to mammals, although it also kills birds, amphibians and insects

1080 is the big issue, and it polarises the country. The anti 1080 groups around the country constantly protesting and fighting for the ban of 1080 DOC.

There was one this morning.

A 1080 protest just south of Hokitika on the West Coast has seen five people arrested for trespass this morning.

Eight police cars were called in to control around 50 people who camped out overnight, trying to block the access road to the planned drop.

Several were escorted off the property and the aerial drop went ahead anyway.

Protester Katie Earnshaw says they were told they were allowed to leave.

"Then all of a sudden the cops started grabbing people and arresting them."

Farmer Nelson Cook, whose land the protestors were on, said: "(It's) terribly disturbing that these people can come onto my land, abuse me, and hold up our whole operation for a day or two."

Four helicopters are working to cover 90,000 hectares in 1080 in what the protesters claim is the biggest drop they have seen.

I do not have a very strong opinion on this issue as I do not know enough. In a town, they even have a possum throw contest much to the anger of the greenies. But I am weary of using poison. A little poison may be harmless, but who knows up the food chain. If a bigger animal eats up a whole lot of the possum carcesses, what would happen to them.

This is a real case in West Malaysia. When you travel in the country roads where the palm trees are. You see lots of monitor lizards basking in the sun on the road. I asked why nobody is catching these monitor lizards as people do eat them. The answer given was: Rats eat the palm oil fruits. Man lay baits to kill the rats. Monitor lizards eat the poisoned rats. The monitor lizards themselves are full of rat poison. Therefore noone dares to eat the monitor lizards.

This site is put up by people who are very strongly against the 1080 dropping. There are nice video of the New Zealand country and wildlife. But please be warned of some of the graphics which may be disturbing to you.


Inday said...

It is so unfortunate for the little fellow that he belongs to that "annihilated" specie over there whereas here even the criminals are given due protection too. Better shut up before I'll get myself into trouble. haha.

This possum is gorgeous! I could adopt him. I have err...not so big tree in my backyard he can burrow. Then again, he has a competitor, my winsome cat, Lemmy.

Thanks for the visit Ann.

khengsiong said...

I never knew of this kind of creature called possum...

Aussies booed Kiwis for killing possums? I think they have their own wars on rabbits and dingos.

Ginny Hartzler said...

Hi Ann. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I wish I knew what the purple flowers are, but they weren't in my yard. Your possum story is almost unbelieveable, the golden one you show is so pretty. I would think if the poison kills the possums, it will sicken or kill other creatures as well. I don't like any poisons unless really necessary. Your blog is most interesting, I've been looking through it. I love the public art post!!! I see you have three blogs?

Regina said...

I haven't seen yet this beautiful creature. Its so cute.
Thank you for posting and for the info Ann.
Have a great day.

Ensurai said...

What a lovely animal. Never seen one before although there are indeed some local native possums in Sarawak which eat up fish in man built ponds....

Nice article.

Jama said...

I guess the beautiful looks is misleading, since they are a pest!

The Hi-5 gang in my blog are the second generation, I guess the original ones are already too old to be dancing around on stage for the kids! lol.
I used to watch the original Hi-5 with my younger son so I know all their names but not the second generation.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Ann: That ends up a tough call when a destructive animal is ruining the island.

Lady Fi said...

What a cute little critter. Who knows what other bad side effects this poison could have?

Ah Ngao said...

Ann,..have you try possum meat? since their diets consist of fruits and vege., should be nice

SandyCarlson said...

Horrible, the way problems are addressed. The solutions are as cruel and undesirable as the problem.

We have his relatives running around here; the primary predator is the automobile.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Years ago, when we drove on the country roads, there were lots of road kills, but not any more. 1080 has done it for them.

This issue is a HOT potato here, and I wonder why a substance banned in USA and used 90% in New Zealand is used here.