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While in NZ and Australia, I've seen some souvenir shops offer products including possum fur, or a mixture of possum fur and merino wool.

Is the possum fur typically from deliberately culled possums as an introduced species control measure, as opposed to farmed possums or possums living in their native habitats in normal numbers?

  • Possums aren't native to New Zealand. – Highly Irregular Nov 29 '15 at 9:06
  • @HighlyIrregular They're still present as an introduced species. – jpatokal Nov 29 '15 at 9:46
  • @HighlyIrregular that's why they're trying to eliminate them! – Andrew Grimm Nov 29 '15 at 10:00
  • My point was that because they aren't native, they aren't living in their native habitats anywhere within NZ (this addresses part of the question). – Highly Irregular Nov 29 '15 at 21:25
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    @Highly Irregular assuming the fur is from NZ (though I wouldn't have a problem with sugar glider possum fur from Tasmania either). – Andrew Grimm Nov 29 '15 at 21:32
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Possums are not farmed in New Zealand or in Australia.

They're an Australian native, where most species are protected. The brushtail possum that's a major pest species in New Zealand is only minimally protected in Australia as it's very common. To the best of my knowledge there is no possum real industry in Australia, just some experimental outlets. So even when Australia culls possums, the carcases are very rarely used for anything.

The possum is a noxious pest in New Zealand, so it's illegal to breed, farm or release possums, and environmental groups like Forest and Bird want them gone. Public sentiment is heavily against them so it would take an extraordinary incident for someone to be prosecuted for harming them. There are animal lovers who are against harming possums and in denial about the damage they do but they're not highly regarded either.

There are a variety of businesses in New Zealand using material from culled possums, from conventional fur or wool/fur mixes to tourist gimmicks.

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The fur probably comes from multiple sources.

The NZ Dept of Conservation doesn't consider fur harvesting to be a contributing factor to possum population reduction, as the critters need to be trapped to preserve the quality of their fur rather than shot or exterminated by other mass means. As such the number taken by traps in culling is small.

So while some fur may come from culling operations, more likely the bulk of it comes from farming.

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    Can you provide evidence that possum farms exist? I couldn't find any. – Móż Dec 6 '15 at 4:16

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