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Realism Hailed on Possum Numbers

Realism Hailed on Possum Numbers
The Kiwi Party
Press Release
27 November

 The estimate there are only 30 million possums in New Zealand has been hailed by Kiwi Party leader Larry Baldock as a break-through in keeping propaganda out of the 1080 debate.

 "At last thanks to the Landcare Research estimate, DOC has been forced to admit there are not 70 million possums as they have maintained for many years," said Mr Baldock.

He said he expected DOC would try to claim credit by saying their 1080 poison programmes have decimated possums. But he said DOC's 1080 programme had been continually accompanied by the fictitious 70 million possum figure. Scientists had warned DOC of its gross exaggeration particularly noted scientist Landcare's Graham Nugent who called the 70 million figure as "a back of cigarette packet calculation."

Mr Baldock said Nature, not 1080 was the regulator of animal numbers. Wildlife scientists recognised the natural rise and fall of animal populations. The virtual absence of road kills of possums over recent years has been strongly suggesting numbers had fallen naturally. Possums suffered heavy natural mortality in cold wet winters.

Mr Baldock said the revised "more realistic" figure of 30 million should mean no 1080 and more sensible policies like ground hunting and fur and meat products for valuable export dollars.

Ends

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