24 people found this article useful

Why New Zealand hates possums

http://imgur.com/6BX29hI

“One of the greatest threats to our natural environment.”

Something that shocks backpackers when they arrive in the wonderful wildlife-filled country of New Zealand is that the Kiwis have a hate for all cute and fluffy four-legged creatures. Rabbits, hedgehogs and cats are all considered pests in New Zealand, but most hated of all is the possum. It may seem extra shocking if arriving in New Zealand from Australia where the Australian possum is a protected species. Here, possum’s most preferred form is either as some warm furry gloves or flattened on the road. In fact, the Department of Conservation (DoC) describes possums as, “one of the greatest threats to our natural environment.”

So why is there no possum love in New Zealand?

Not only does the introduced mammal chomp through 20000 tonnes of vegetation a night, but their population has increased at an alarming rate to around 70 million currently in New Zealand! Whole canopies of trees have disappeared at the mercy of the possum.

In turn, native bird species, many of which are endangered, have to compete with possums for food, which also isn’t helped by possums eating native bird eggs and chicks. For instance, they have been reported to eat young kea parrots and kiwi eggs.

Kiwi farmers are pretty pissed too, due to possums being a carrier of bovine tuberculosis – a disease that affects cows and deer.

Base Hostels

http://imgur.com/MNI2fGY

A history of possums in New Zealand

The possums’ life in New Zealand began when they were introduced for the fur trade in 1987 from Australia where they are a protected species. In their native land, possums fit in with the ecosystem where they are threatened by dingoes, bush fires and less vegetation for dinner.

But the nocturnal species have been living the high life in New Zealand where there is plenty of shelter and varied food supplies, all the while not being threatened by any predator but man. The only place not possum-worthy is in the rainy mountainous regions of Fiordland.

http://imgur.com/IeB6d7Y

The National Possum Control Agency (NPCA)

That’s right, New Zealand has an agency dedicated to the possum. A number of different governing bodies have combined efforts to eradicate the possums. The members are:

  • DoC provides resources of possum control to priority areas of New Zealand.
  • TBFree New Zealand aims to get rid of bovine tuberculosis from farmed cattle and deer, which involves stopping possums carrying the disease.
  • Regional councils have an obligation to control possums in rural and urban areas for health and environmental reasons.
  • Ministry of Primary Industries are responsible for biosecurity in New Zealand, so are involved due to the disease threat of possums. You will definitely deal with these guys when you arrive in a New Zealand airport from overseas.

http://imgur.com/2kj7Gul

How to help with the possum problem

While on your working holiday in New Zealand, there are some suggested ways to help with the nation’s possum problem.

  • If you see a possum on the road while driving, the general rule is to run it over instead of slowing down or trying to avoid them.
  • Buy souvenirs made from possum fur – the trade they were originally introduced in New Zealand for! You’ll find all sorts of things from possum fur gloves to possum, ehem, nipple warmers.
  • While WWOOFing you might get the chance to go possum hunting with your host.
  • Volunteer for conservation efforts like the DoC to help set up pest traps.

Other mammals considered pests in New Zealand

What might be considered as a cute or harmless animal elsewhere isn’t quite thought of the same way in New Zealand. These are other wild animals that damage the ecosystem of New Zealand.

  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Rabbits
  • Hedgehogs
  • Stoats
  • Cats
  • Deer
  • Goats
  • Pigs
Working Holiday Insurance
Was this article useful? Useful Useless
BPKG Blog
http://imgur.com/ywQKn68
Working Holiday Visa

What is a Working Holiday Visa?

Your guide to the working holiday visa. The working holiday visa is [...]

BackpackerGuide.NZ
Stay With Locals

Everything You Need to Know About Airbnb in New Zealand

How to use Airbnb in New Zealand … So you want to [...]

http://www.thriftytours.co.nz/images/uploads/Waitomo_Glowworm_Caves_tour.jpg
North Island Cities

Waitomo – Guide for backpackers

Backpacking in Waitomo. Above ground Waitomo is exciting, but underground it is [...]

http://www.silostay.kiwi.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/SiloStay_Wallpaper12.jpg
South Island Hostels

10 Unique Accommodations in the South Island

Want to sleep in a shoe? A boot, a hobbit hole, a [...]

Search
Popular searches: Budget, Free, Jobs, Travel Tips, Rotorua
Working Holiday New Zealand
Hot on Backpacker Guide
Leaving New Zealand
http://superiorplatform.com/pictures-of/faces/angry/03b-angry_kids.jpg

The 7 Worst Questions to be Asked When You Come Back From a Trip

We all get them. Time for us to all empathise with a TOP […]

Inspiration
http://imgur.com/xbOWJRs

9 Best Air New Zealand Safety Videos

Since when did airline safety get so hilarious? If there is one […]

New Zealand Culture
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2DxWh3OL4Io/UChr1BtegNI/AAAAAAAAMt8/SN6vHNZdetc/s1600/Picture+25.png

16 Products of New Zealand

When doing a working holiday in New Zealand there is no better […]

FB Group
Join the group!
Join the group!

Ask questions to our writers, post notices, share with travellers, show pictures, meet other backpackers, ...

Join our Facebook group