Biodiv Sci ›› 2002, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (1): 98-105.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2002011

• 论文 • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The common brushtail possum in New Zealand—an unfinished battle with an alien

Weihong Ji, Mick N. Clout   

  1. School of Biological Sciences , The University of Auckland , Private Bag 92019 , Auckland , New Zealand
  • Online:2002-02-20 Published:2002-02-20
  • Contact: Weihong Ji

Abstract: Brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula ) were introduced into New Zealand from Australia in the mid 1800′s to establish a fur industry. They became a major invasive pest damaging native biodiversity by browsing and predation, and harming the farm industry by acting as reservoir of bovine tuberculosis. Management of possums includes eradication from some offshore islands and control by trapping, shooting and poisoning on the mainland. Although successfully eradicated from some islands and greatly reduced in abundance in some areas with high conservation value, possum distribution on the mainland has continued to expand. They are still at very high density in some areas and continue to cause biodiversity loss in this country. The efficiency of conventional control methods is affected by limited funding and rapid population recovery caused by re colonisation, higher reproduction rate and survival rate of possums in response to reduced density. Biological control, especially immunocontraception, is now being investigated as a cheaper and more effective option. Recent studies indicate that the polygynous mating system and some responses of male possums to female sterilisation would help the success of a potential virus vectored immunocontraception method.