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Investigating Alternative Methods To 1080

Investigating Alternative Methods To 1080

Research that aims to find effective contraception methods for possums will be housed at the Wellington Zoo under a new agreement signed today between the zoo and the University's School of Biological Sciences.

Possums are regarded as New Zealand’s number one vertebrate pest in both ecological and economical terms, and approximately $110 million is spent annually on the control of possums and bovine tuberculosis – primarily using poisons.

Victoria Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Charles Daugherty, says the management of invasive wildlife species and the development of non-lethal methods of control is becoming increasingly necessary throughout the world.

"The reassessment of 1080 poison in New Zealand this year by the Environmental Risk Management Authority called for more research into alternative methods of possum control," Professor Daugherty says.

"In line with this requirement, part of the reproductive biology research programme at Victoria focuses on the development of methods of fertility control for the management of possums."

Wellington Zoo CEO Karen Fifield says that applied conservation research is a key component of the Zoo's Conservation Strategy that seeks to utilise Zoo resources and foster partnerships that will benefit conservation.

“We are thrilled to partner with Victoria University for the protection of New Zealand fauna and flora.”

She says that although the facility will not be open to visitors as such, the research outcomes will enhance the Zoo's wildlife conservation programmes enjoyed by the 180,000 visitors that visit the Zoo annually.

The establishment of a programme of reproductive biology in the School of Biological Sciences has been made possible with the recent appointments of Professor Ken McNatty, Professor Alan Dixson, Associate Professor Doug Eckery and Dr Janet Crawford.

ENDS

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