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Standing next to a possum caught as part of the City Sanctuary project is Dunedin Botanic Garden...
Standing next to a possum caught as part of the City Sanctuary project is Dunedin Botanic Garden aviary curator Alisha Sherriff and City Sanctuary community co-ordinator Zac Martin at the garden yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
If you have noticed fewer possums around Dunedin, rest assured they are not just playing dead.

City Sanctuary has trapped 1000 possums this year in an effort to help native wildlife flourish.

The predator control project is run by Predator Free Dunedin and the Dunedin City Council.

Possum No1000 was caught by Dunedin Botanic Garden aviary curator Alisha Sherriff, who managed traps around the garden on her lunch break.

She had a great love for restoring natural spaces and trapping predators was a vital part of that.

The possums were killed in a fast and humane way and the remains were buried to help fertilise the land, she said.

City Sanctuary operations supervisor Catherine Bradley said possums were pests that damaged trees and preyed on young native birds.

‘‘It’s really important that we control them,’’ she said.

It was hard to tell how many possums there were in Dunedin, but research had shown it could be up to three per hectare in some the city’s forest areas.

City Sanctuary operated in an area of 2470ha of which about 1900ha was suburban.

There were about 480 traps in private properties operated by more than 300 trappers and about 430 traps across reserve areas checked by about 60 volunteers.

City Sanctuary had also trapped 750 rats and hundreds of mice this year.


Predators being proud of a 'predator control project' strikes one as, well, ironic.



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