What you might not know – about t0­tara and pos­sums

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Notebook -

Thou­sands of tō­tara trees die ev­ery year, and it’s of­ten due to mur­der by pos­sums. You wouldn’t think there would be much for pos­sums to munch on, but at cer­tain times of year the tō­tara is vul­ner­a­ble.

“They bother with the young leaves in spring, and also the buds be­fore they open out,” says Philip. “And I’m not quite sure about the dif­fer­ence in chem­istry be­tween low­land and Halls tō­tara but all tō­tara gets se­verely dam­aged by pos­sums and all through NZ it has been killed in its hun­dreds of thou­sands. In some places like the Ruahine Range in south­ern cen­tral North Is­land, Halls tō­tara has been vir­tu­ally elim­i­nated.” But have you ever seen a pos­sum in a tō­tara? “I searched long and hard for a pho­to­graph of a pos­sum in a tō­tara, all the top na­ture pho­tog­ra­phers in New Zealand like Rod Mor­ris and so on. But of course they are noc­tur­nal and go­ing out and look­ing for pos­sums is not every­one’s cup of tea.” How­ever, it is Philip’s cup of tea. “I spend quite a lot of time out­side at night with pos­sums be­cause they’re here and I shoot them. I don’t like do­ing it, they’re beau­ti­ful crea­tures in their own way, how­ever they do so much dam­age and New Zealand is be­ing ru­ined by pests, es­pe­cially the ones that eat birds: pos­sums, stoats and rats.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.