Monday, May 10, 2010

Playing possum

If you are dead but just don't know could be said to be playing possum.

But for us down here down-under the possum is no joke.
The little blighters are eating our country - at an alarming rate.

Brushtail Possum - the Facts

By choosing a product containing Possum fur, you are helping save the birds and forests of New Zealand.

The New Zealand Brushtail Possum (sometimes known as Kiwi Bear and definitely NOT to be confused with the short-haired American Opposum) produces an opulent, luxurious fur which is 8% warmer and 14% lighter than wool. Its soft and silky fiber is hollow, so it retains heat and repels moisture, making it extremely warm to wear. It is regarded as the third warmest fur in the world, behind the Arctic Fox and Polar Bear. It also has unique anti-static qualities, making it a perfect complement to our range of top quality leather products to protect your top-end electronics.

The Brushtail Possum is not a native of New Zealand - it came to New Zealand from Australia, where the landscape there learnt long ago to protect itself against these sharp toothed devils. Today the ex-Aussie Brushtail Possum is destroying the birds and the forests of New Zealand in ever increasing numbers!

In New Zealand, the Brushtail Possum is an introduced species which has become a pest of mammoth proportions. At Nutshell, we agree with many other local manufacturers and merchants who believe that a commercially driven approach towards maximizing a return from a pest that is an environmental and ecological disaster is the only effective way to control the possum problem.

Why is the Possum a pest?

The Brushtail Possum was introduced into the South Island of NZ from Australia in the 1800’s with the well-intentioned objective of establishing a fur trade. That's when things went wrong. In its native land of Australia, the Brushtail Possum population is contained by dingoes, bush fires and less palatable vegetation.

But in New Zealand there are no natural controls; the population grew and grew and grew...and grew. Today the Brushtail Possum population is now of epidemic proportions.

It is estimated that there are approximately 70 million Brushtail Possums in New Zealand, and they devour nearly eight million tonnes of native trees and vegetation annually. This equates to the Brushtail Possum population munching its collective way through 20,000 tonnes or 4,000 truckloads of native forest every night!

In addition to their voracious appetites for our native forests, Brushtail Possums can also act as carriers of bovine tuberculosis, which may be transmitted to cattle and other farm stock. addition to destroying our native bush and harboring pestilence, the Brushtail Possum eats the eggs and young of native birds, including our own flightless bird and the symbol of our land, the Kiwi.

In New Zealand, it is illegal to...

* Farm possums.
* Keep possums as pets.
* To use traps that cause pain and suffering (a native animal may accidentally get caught and needs to be released unharmed).
* To sell or use any possum culled as part of the official eradication program.

We do none of these things. We believe it is our duty to do what we can to help our country rid itself of the possum.

However, considering there are an estimated 70 million possums that are very alive and well and munching their way through our forests, it could take some time.

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