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Possum Fur Trade: For, Against & Another Option

Home Possum Fur Trade: For, Against & Another Option


possum in grass

Albert Einstein once said, “The only way to avoid making mistakes is to have no new ideas.” In 1837, the founding forefathers of New Zealand came up with a new idea that changed their home from that day forward. A result of a business move, a boatload of the Australian Brushtail Possum was brought from Australia to New Zealand. The possum fur trade industry began shortly after the marsupial settled into its new habitat, yet trouble on both sides was not too far behind. To the surprise of the exploring businessmen, the possums began to overshadow the livelihood of the native flora fauna all over New Zealand. This became tragedy on both ends of the table. Possums brought new species of birds and trees to the endangered species list while the government started to poison thousands of possums at a time in an attempt to control their population. How do you deal with a crisis like this? What is the answer when you have a choice between what kind of genocide needs to become reality? Or is there a remaining door which we haven’t even thought about opening?


There are those who see the side of the coin that sees the progression in business, how to provide for their families, and in what ways can they best hold up to the responsibility of stewardship for the overall community and nature which surrounds them. For such individuals, Bryant McGrill may have said it best, “Mistakes are a sign that you are moving forward.” Progress for society, or self, cannot occur without moving forward and attempting something that has never before been thought, seen, or heard. With every choice at hand, you must always choose a priority focus for where your passions and energies will be geared towards. Priority for taking care of family comes above all else when everything boils down to it.

For the government, this means taking measures that best serve their people. If the health and everyday living of the people they represent is compromised then the primary objective is to remedy this through whatever means possible. The birth, life, and death of animals and all of nature is the path all must take. With this in mind, the control of any species’ population becomes the shield of protection for the good of the whole, flora fauna and humans alike. Hunting, poisoning, and the fur trade itself become ways of the government providing security and the restoration of balance. Wars, natural disasters, and endangered species all tell stories of some type of imbalance occurring. What can we do about imbalances? How can we thrive when a balance is lacking, or even neglected?


a possum in a tree

We can only act upon what we know. Ancestors of every culture worldwide have kept the natural balance by means of hunting and gathering. Within the animal kingdom natural pairs of prey and predator also carve the necessary balance needed for a healthy existence. There are few available predators assigned to the Australian Brushtail Possum since it has arrived on New Zealand’s shores. What further choices remain in order to bring about a balance of safety & wellness for a country being invaded than to promote a business that both brings balance and profit for all?


“All men make mistakes, but only the wise men learn from their mistakes,” was stated by Winston Churchill. Yes, men who learn from their mistakes may become wiser for it, as well as, more learned. What does this look like in reality? How many experiments need to take place before a positive outcome takes place?

The fur trade in New Zealand, regarding the Australian Brushtail Possum, has skyrocketed in the market at the expense of a beautiful and unique species. Possums have now been on the land for almost a couple centuries. Why has the drastic measure of expulsion only now become pertinent? The government has chosen to focus their time, energy, and budget on using 1080 poison, opening a hunting season, and the continuation of support for the fur trade industry.

possum on a tree branchThe poison being spread by the government is not only killing off the marsupial, but is also greatly affecting the people, animals, and plants where 1080 is being distributed. The hunting season is not as secure as it is typically intended to be in that poachers successfully annihilate the possums in whatever time of the year as they see fit. Ultimately, the fur trade of possum hides will be an encouragement to onlookers that this is an appropriate gesture for all species. Eventually, the social norm around the world may become holding apathy towards every living creature. This is not simply a choice of how these decisions form our current circumstances. The effects each choice has on the future must be within vision. Leon Brown once mentioned that “Mistakes are the stepping stones to wisdom. We learn from trial and error; we become wise by understanding the problems.” Can we follow in the way of wisdom, then, and understand that the problem that has grown to be more than the overpopulation of the possum, and is now shared with the chosen actions of the government to restore the imbalance occurring? A choice for life should always be an option.

Another Option

possum in woodlands“When you make mistakes, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it,” mentioned Paul Bear Bryant. Let’s hope this is either how society thinks or will grow to know. Too many times in history mistakes have been duplicated or wrongly dealt with. When the New Zealand ancestors brought over the possum from Australia in hopes of good business they were ignorant of the marsupial’s excellent ability to quickly procreate. If this information was a common fact for them, perhaps the overgrowth crisis would have been avoided. They could have brought over fewer possums or found an alternative vessel for income. Wisdom comes with research and research takes time and patience. It is quite possible, then, that patience is what is truly lacking. If the parties involved in the conflict take the time to understand the problem, the pros, and cons and hold time for research on the opposing perspectives there would be a greater solution found.

There is still a good amount of breathing room for the brainstorming process for this conflict at hand. Instead of going right to killing the creatures, an alternative measure has been suggested. A more natural process of illumination by means of creating infertility may be an avenue the government may choose next. Another solution opportunity such as transporting large amounts of possums to environments in other nations which also have natural predators in order to keep the natural balance. This would encourage natural selection and save the flourishing flora fauna of New Zealand from further endangerment. Ashana states wisdom like this, “The biggest mistake to ever make is not learning from previous mistakes.” There may be options beyond our vision. We need only to open our perspective and persevere in patience.


Both Eleanor Roosevelt & Groucho Marx have said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” Nikki Giovanni stated that “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.” With these precious thoughts in mind, what action will you take? Every person on earth has the honor, right, and capability to take care of one another and this beautiful planet we reside on. From all perspectives balance, life, and health are a common thread of desire. Since the act of the forefathers escalated to crisis mode, their innocent business move is now viewed as a mistake. A new choice is now laid on the table. Is balance only obtainable through the way current actions are unfolding, or is life holding out its hand with new possibilities to explore?