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Possum hunts a blast and good for environment too

For immediate release: Monday 31 July 2006

Possum hunts a blast and good for environment too

Possum hunts are fun but also good for the environment

Possum hunts are a blast! They’re great for pest awareness and not bad for the environment too, says Environment Bay of Plenty.

Because of this, the regional council is a major sponsor of eight annual possum hunts throughout the region, mostly run by rural schools. The events extend all the way from the Kaimai ranges to Rerewhakaaitu near Rotorua and Galatea in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Pest animal officer Brian Clements expects a grand total of more than 6000 possums by the time the last hunt is over in October. Most events attract 150 to 200 entrants, working in teams of four or five. “So people really get into it,” he says. “They see it as a challenge and a chance to win some good prizes – but they know they are also supporting local schools. In some cases, this is the school’s major fundraiser for the year.”

Te Ranga School, near Te Puke, organises the oldest hunt in the Bay of Plenty. Now in its ninth year, the event has been supported by Environment Bay of Plenty pretty much from the start. “We are keen to do this because everyone wins – the schools win, the entrants win, and the environment wins.”

Te Ranga School’s hunt collected just over 1500 possums this year, bought in by 37 teams. Other events are run by Pyes Pa School, Kaimai School, Whakamarama School, Lake Rerewhakaaitu School, Galatea Primary School and East Whakatane Rotary in June and July. Oropi School’s hunt is in October.

Each sponsored school received a possum educational resource for use before the event. It means students have the chance to learn more about the pest and its effect on the environment.

ENDS

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