Sunday, January 16, 2011

Biological control of Australian brush-tailed possums

Dear Sir
The Parliamentary Commissioner of the Environment has raised the issue
of biological control of possums.  Some 15-20 years ago possums in my
neck of the woods in the eastern Bay of Plenty were virtually wiped
out by a virulent strain of "wobbly possum syndome".  The controversy
surrounding the control of possums and 1080 was raging then as now and
biological control was being actively pursued. A virologist visited my
farm to collect samples. I heard nothing more of his efforts and the
possibility of biological control seemed to just disappear from the
scene. I gathered from other sources that Australian wildlife
officials objected to the development of a bio control agent as they
feared it would jump the Tasman and wipe out their (protected)
possums. I  am curious to know where this issue is now.
Incidently, for those who oppose the use of 1080, watching possums die
of wobbly possum syndrome was very distressing.

Published Dominion Post, January 17, 2011

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