Custom made possum vest to help possum control in Canterbury
Media Release 20 September 2013
On September 23rd, New Zealand fashion designers, Chalkydigits will auction a one-of-a-kind possum fur vest with all proceeds going towards possum and other predator trapping on Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula.
The custom-made vest is made of high quality, extremely soft, ethically-recovered black Brush Tailed possum fur. The piece was designed by Christchurch based Chalkydigits’ designer Liz Collins.
The possum skin vest solves an ethical dilemma for fashionistas concerned about wearing fur. Not only does the piece use fur from one of New Zealand’s worst pests, but the money raised will help restore some of the biodiversity that the possum populations have devastated.
The vest will incorporate the fur of around 10 possums. Despite the abundance of possums in New Zealand, sourcing tanned possum skins proved a challenge for the vest’s creators. Currently in New Zealand most fur is plucked to be made into blended fabrics, which made finding enough of the whole pelts difficult. The possum fur is sourced from Canterbury, where the proceeds from the sale of the piece will be returned.
Chalkydigits have partnered with the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust (BPCT) who carry out pest control on the Banks Peninsula in conjunction with landowners. Predators such as possums, ferrets and rats are one of the biggest threats to the regions unique biodiversity, in particular the birdlife that includes Tui, the endangered Yellow-eyed penguin, and threatened White-flippered penguins.
The fur vest will be auctioned via Trade Me with the winner of the auction receiving the exclusive vest.
“It’s great to be able to work with a local conservation trust and make a difference in our own backyard, so to speak. It’d be great to wake up in Christchurch to the sound of Tui outside and think that this is something we’ve helped to achieve – we’ve just got to get rid of a few more possums.” says Chalkydigits founder Liz Collins.
Some of the predator control projects that funds raised by Chalkydigits will help with include:
• The Tui Restoration Project. Over thirty years ago Tui disappeared altogether from Banks Peninsula. In 2008 the BPCT relocated 72 Tui from Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds to the Hinewai Reserve near Akaroa. BPCT in conjunction with Lincoln University are monitoring the Tui population and the Trust has put considerable effort into trapping around Tui breeding sites. Tui, like many other native birds in the area, are particularly sensitive to predators and on going pest control would ensure that the population continues to grow.
• Eradication of possums, stoats, ferrets and rats on the ‘Wildside’. The ‘Wildside Project’ operates on the south-eastern bays of Banks Peninsula. This part of Banks Peninsula, extending from the eastern shores of Akaroa Harbour to the northern side of Le Bons Bay, has been identified as being a key biodiversity area and is home to some iconic and rare flora and fauna. The endangered Yellow-eyed penguin and the threatened Canterbury’s White-flippered penguins breed in this area. Both species are vulnerable to predators and since predator control began in the area 20 years ago colonies have been expanding.