Thursday 24 November 2011

More about possums

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

As we were walking from Flinders Station to the Botanical Gardens we saw many trees with guards: palms, eucalyptus and even oak trees. The guards were either in metal or plastic. See below.

Oak tree with a possum guard
At the Botanical gardens they explained to us that they were possum guards. Possums have become urban animals like many others: racoons, foxes, hedgehogs and stag beetles.
And they are highly unpopular to the point that in the Botanical Gardens possum guards were quite conspicuous. A bit too firm, I thought.

This bad popularity has spread to New Zealand, where we are now.  Here they are considered an introduced pest and I’ve seen a poster about

Possums are eating…
  … our forests
  … our birds
  … our gardens

It advertised traps.
Poor things!

PS: I've now found out that possums were introduced in NZ in 1837 to start a fur industry. This in a country which had only two mammals: two species of bats!
They are selling some nice woolly hats which have possum fur, so the "fur industry" isn't dead... But now there are 70 million possums roaming the islands...

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