New Zealand’s 100% pure reputation took another hit today with the news that its conservation body is considering releasing generations of genetically mutated possums in to the wild.
“The Department of Conservation is pursuing research into mutant possums which produce infertile male babies…
One such tool being developed by Landcare Research and Otago University was the “Trojan female” possum.
Mr Sanson (ed. DOC’s director general) said the “Trojan female” would reduce the number of possums in the wild by only giving birth to sterile males. It had been created through genetic mutations. “We’re definitely investing in this,” he said.
He said there was a concern that the mutant possum would be introduced to Australia and affect their native possum population. But he understood it would need to be continually re-introduced into the breeding pool…” more here
New Zealand is the world’s largest consumer of the inhumane pesticide 1080, or sodium monofluoroacetate, which it uses to control foreign mammal species, often at the expense of local fauna. It is desperate to replace it with a more ecologically sustainable alternative which will not decimate the native wildlife along with invasive species.
Releasing genetically modified animals into the wild has all the hallmarks of a ecological disaster waiting to happen. Furthermore, is DOC honestly going to add hundreds of possums to its conservation areas so that they may produce a handful of infertile males? Someone should tell them that female possums also have appetites.
- Posts tagged 1080 (e2nz.org)
- Will Kiwis turn the tables on invaders? (telegraph.co.uk)
- DOC Fluffs Up 1080 Drop in Tennyson Inlet (e2nz.org)
- NZ story confusing (stuff.co.nz)
- New pest fighting approach offers hope for native species, agriculture (radionz.co.nz)
4 thoughts on “100% Pure NZ to Release Genetically Modified Frankenpossums”
New Zealand does not permit genetically modified organisms or genetically modified anything in its 100% Pure country. I am sure you are wrong about this! *joke*
The possums in the photo look like American possums, Australian possums are Disney cute.
Thank you, a suitably cute possum has been sourced from Wikipedia.
Unfortunately this is how New Zealand’s attitude towards its possum population is regarded abroad – something that is decidedly dysfunctional and more than a little macabre http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2182521/New-Zealand-schoolchildren-encouraged-dress-dead-possums-competition.html.
School kids dressing up road kill, frankenpossums…whatever next?
Somewhat disturbing report, I’d agree that there’s something repugnant in encouraging such a callous attitude to animals, the fact that possums are pests in NZ is irrelevant. Of course here in Australia possums are part of the natural order and, in fact, they’re one of a small number of native species that have adapted to suburbia.
NZ is remarkably poor in terrestrial wildlife by international standards, so I can understand the alarm at the risk of losing what little they have left.
The main concern here in Australia would be if NZ scientists ever developed a virus targeted against possums (like the myxoma and calicivirus used against rabbits in Australia).–I don’t know if NZ has the resources to develop and test a species specific virus.
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