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about the NZ bushtail possum

Introduced to New Zealand 150 years ago to create a fur industry, the marsupial Brushtail possum was originally native to Australia.

Cloaked in ancient rain forest, isolated and uninhabited for millions of years, New Zealand evolved knowing only the unique sounds of its insect and bird life.

Possums quickly adapted and thrived in this lush, predator free environment. Of all the introduced mammals, the possum is the most destructive biologically and economically. Selectively browsing plant species, preying on bird nests and posing real problems for fruit and crop farmers, the possum menace now requires huge amounts of manpower and money to contain it.

Estimations were, by 1980, that possums occupied 91% of the country, with a total population of approximately 60-70 million, two thirds of which were in the North Island. Possums also eat or destroy both eggs and chicks of native birds, many endangered, and compete with native species for food.

Possums actively destroying New Zealand's native bush and birds


The Australian possum is a marsupial and a very different species to the American possum, a rodent. All Supreme Possum Merino fur comes from feral animals as it is against New Zealand’s environmental laws to farm or commercially breed possums. The collection of possums is humane and according to Department of Conservation regulations.

In New Zealand, there are two breeds of possum, Australian (rich blue grey fur) and Tasmanian (red brown fur), both of which interbreed. The fur of both is like thick plush, silkier and harder wearing than American possum, in some cases lasting up to fifteen years.

The possum in New Zealand has thrived, unlike Australia, in which country this protected animal contends with natural predators and a harsher environment. Here, in some areas of New Zealand, the possum has destroyed the forest canopy and the home of many native species.