Movement of possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) between forest and pasture in Westland, New Zealand: Implications for bovine tuberculosis transmission

Over a 3-year period, 1183 brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula ) were live-trapped in 125 ha of mixed hardwood forest and adjacent pasture in Westland, and 50 were radio-tracked for up to 14 months. Foraging movements between forest and pasture were much longer than previously reported. Twenty-eight percent of males and 18% of females denning c. 1000 m into forest were trapped on pasture at least once a year. These values were higher for possums denning closer to pasture, but dropped abruptly at distances beyond 1000 m and ceased beyond 1300 m into forest. Radio-tracking confirmed the trapping results and showed that possums travelled to an from pasture within the same night. Control of possums in Tb-problem areas will be required over forest at least 1 km in from forest-pasture margins. Changes in farm management that reduce possum-cattle interactions are also desirable.

Author W. Q. Green and J. D. Coleman
Year 1986
Secondary title New Zealand Journal of Ecology
Volume 9
Pages 57-70