Honeymoon postponed to hunt possums

A Taranaki couple postponed their honeymoon to help rid the region of possums.

Possum hunters Andrea and Max Hoegh returned from their wedding, in Ireland, and post-phoned their honeymoon earlier this year to help eradicate possums from urban Oākura.

The seaside town is part of a trial to eradicate possums as part of Towards Predator-Free Taranaki, and Oākura residents are helping catch a possum a day.

Andrea says about 50 possums have been found in urban backyards, parks and reserves in Oākura since January 25.

“On average we’re catching a possum a day in backyards, in Matekai Park, near commercial buildings, they’re popping up everywhere,” she says.

This is the first time possum eradication has been attempted across different land types in mainland New Zealand and the trial covers about 4500 hectares of urban, rural and conservation land.

It will build on predator control efforts by environmental restoration project Taranaki Mounga and community-led groups like Restore Oākura, Oākura Community Board and Kaitake Ranges Conservation Trust.

Max says the support from Oākura’s community has been awesome.

“If you hear, see or suspect there may be a possum in your backyard or somewhere in urban Oākura then please call 0800 736 222 and report it,” he says.

Towards Predator-Free Taranaki is a region-wide community project, supported by $11.7 million from Predator Free 2050 Ltd.