Friday, 15 October 2010

When the possum hits the island

The Hauraki Gulf paradise of Great Barrier Island is mercifully free of possums. 

That is to say, it was mercifully free of the pests … until now—until the arrival this week of an Auckland City Council roading gang, who showed up to play around on the roads armed with a truck, a crane and a barge.  And a possum.

The possum came in hidden somewhere around the crane, locals surmise, and once the barge nosed up to the island the possum swiftly identified its chance and made its bid for freedom.  Successfully, as it happens.

Naturally, the local (fully-staffed) Dept of Conservation (DoC) office sprang immediately into action. They looked at each other for a few moments, brewed up several cups of tea, wrote thesmelves a report, then sent a memo to Head Office calling for reinforcements.

This is how things are done in the local (fully-staffed) DoC office.

So now the small island has several extra trappers, many extra DoC staff, many new cars zooming about the roads with sirens wailing … and one small possum happily making itself at home in its new habitat.  And there’s at least one eagle-eyed local who’s prepared to swear it’s a pregnant female…

Which reminds me of an old joke told around DoC office water coolers:

Q: How do you wipe out possums?
A: You give DoC the job of protecting them.

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