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Eyes And Ears Open For Possums

Waiheke Residents Asked To Keep Their Eyes And Ears Open For Possums

March 2, 2001

A dead male possum found on Waiheke Island has prompted a call for all Waiheke residents to keep their eyes and ears open.

Waiheke has always been a possum free island and Auckland Regional Council biosecurity staff want residents’help to keep it that way.

The dead possum was hit by a motor vehicle on Crescent Rd West. It has been autopsied and the surrounding bush area thoroughly examined by biosecurity staff.

Councillor Mike Lee, a Waiheke resident himself, says officers found no droppings or other evidence of possums in the immediate vicinity but he is urging residents to be on the lookout.

“This may well be a one off but with Waiheke’s status as a possum free island at stake we can’t afford to take any chances. Everybody knows how damaging these marsupials could be to the island environment.”

“This animal did not swim here, so if anybody knows anything about it please let us know – we will treat all information confidentially.”

“It is important to remember what a threat possums pose to Waiheke’s native bush and to characteristic Waiheke birds such as native pigeons (kereru) and also to our growing horticultural industry. Our native pigeons are much more numerous on Waiheke than on the mainland because of one clear factor – possums never got established here.”

ARC Biosecurity manager Steve Hix says now is the mating season for possums so if there are others on the island residents are likely to hear their distinctive “raspy” mating call, especially at night.

“Of course our officers will be monitoring the island on an ongoing basis but if there are other possums on the island our best chance of finding them is with the help local residents acting as our eyes and ears,” Cr Lee says.

Anybody who finds any signs of possums on the island should call the ARC’s Enviroline on 0800 80 60 40 immediately.

For further information please call:
Cr Mike Lee, Phone 634-7691(wk), Mobile 035 943 198
Steve Hix, ARC Biosecurity Manager, Phone 366-2000 ext 8771, Mobile 021 222 9064
Simon Roche, ARC Communications, Phone 366-2000 ext 8100, Mobile 021 656 380.

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