The introduction, classification and management of marsupial species (Trichosurus vulpecula and Marcropus eugenii) in the Bay of Plenty to December 2015

Author: Mawera Gina-Marie Karetai

The Introduction, Classification and Management of Marsupial Species (Trichosurus vulpecula and Marcropus eugenii) in the Bay of Plenty to December 2015

Mawera Gina-Marie Karetai
19 October 2016


Mawera, M G-M (2016). The Introduction, Classification and Management of Marsupial Species (Trichosurus vulpecula and Marcropus eugenii) in the Bay of Plenty to December 2015. A redacted thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice with a special focus on Environmental Management [PDF 1.4MB]

Executive Summary

The Bay of Plenty on the North Island of New Zealand is a place where almost everything that survives, thrives. Endemic, native and introduced species of flora and fauna all live in the same environment, all vying for the space and resources necessary for survival; this includes humans. Perhaps in time, if left to do so, nature would find a balance where all species could live in harmony – but perhaps not. Australian Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and Dama (also known as Tammar) Wallaby (Marcropus eugenii) are two introduced species which have made a home and an impact on the Bay of Plenty environment.

The Brushtail Possum was introduced to New Zealand between 1890 and 1930. The Dama Wallaby was one of twelve wallaby species introduced to New Zealand between 1858 and 1870 (Wodzicki). Both species were repeatedly introduced to different parts of New Zealand in several installations. With no natural predators, both species thrived in their new habitat and are now on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council pest list (2011).

Because of the impact both species have had on the environment, there have been considerable resources used in an effort to control them. Various control methods have been utilised, including trapping, shooting and poisoning them as a means of reducing the population. Of these three methods, the one that has been most effective on a cost per head basis appears to have been poison, but the only cost measured is in the number of target species deaths. There are six poisons commonly used for the control of marsupials (usually possums) according to the Department of Conservation: Sodium Fluoroacetate (1080), Phosphorus, Cholecalciferol, Cyanide and anticoagulants – Brodifacoum and Pindone. While these six poisons are different in the active ingredient and the way they are applied, there is one thing they all have in common; they are indiscriminant killers of every animal that ingests them, including the species we want to protect.

Research for this project has come from books, journals, articles and firsthand knowledge. There are no conclusions reached in this work and that is by design. One of the main goals of the work was to present the information as facts only and not to allow personal views to influence the reader/learner.

Learning Outcomes:

1. An in-depth understanding of the facts of marsupial origin and spread in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
2. An in-depth understanding of past and current pest control methods used in the control of marsupials in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and their impact on the population.
3. A foundation document to be the basis of PhD research into alternative methods of pest control and in environmental education.

Key words: Marsupial; Wallaby; Pest Management; Bay of Plenty; Acclimatisation Society; Environment.


This redacted thesis is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International.

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