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ecoglobe [yinyang] news (15 April 1999)
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Possums in Wallaceville

Sunday night your news editor had an encounter with one of New Zealand's 100 million possums.
Today a three-day Possum Biocontrol Workshop ended. Approximately 50 scientists, including some from Australia, presented and discussed their research on a range of methods to reduce possum numbers. Ideal would be zero possums left but a long-term more realistic figure mentioned was 10 per cent. That would still be 10 million possums.
Control methods discussed included poisoned bait, sterilisation, infectuous diseases, (genetically engineered) viruses, and integrated pest management that combines a set of methods.
Communication and public relations with the public was also briefly mentioned. The scientists questioned how public acceptance could be achieved. The suggestion was made that the public should be informed in all openness and in understandable language about all aspects of the ongoing research.
The conference, at AgResearch in Wallaceville near Upper Hutt ended with thoughts about the place of possum-control research within a changeing NZ science funding structure.
At an open spot in the bush on the hill next to AgResearch some possums observed the scientists during their coffee breaks.

For more information contact Dr Peter Kettle, Ministry of Agriculture, POBox 2526, Wellington, Tel. 04-4744100

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ecoglobe [yinyang] news (15 April 1999)
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