Urban Possum Action
Possums are Australian native animals who have adapted to life in urban parks
and gardens. They are nocturnal animals, sheltering in dark tree hollows during
daylight hours or, in the case of Ringtail Possums, build large nests called "dreys" in
tree canopies. Their claws are designed for climbing rough tree trunks and descending
to the ground in search for food at dusk. Possums adapt well to living in an
urban environment and have legal protection under various legislations including
the Wildlife Act 1975 (Victoria) and The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
However, despite protection offered to them under wildlife legislation in all state jurisdictions, they are rarely defended by the RSPCA or government agencies against the levels of abuse to which they are subjected. Their adaptability to the built environment which has replaced their once abundant natural habitat gives possums a visibility which makes them targets for cruelty, demonisation as “pests” and frequent calls for their elimination by means of “trap & kill” programs. Easy access by vivisectors has resulted in thousands trapped and bred for experimental purposes; in Tasmania they are killed for their meat-for export and to cater to a growing national interest in “bush meat” and possum fur products.
Many of our municipal councils are also killing these friendly and vulnerable animals in their thousands in a so-called bid to protect trees from possum grazing. Possums are accused of tree destruction to cover for years of arborial neglect and incompetence by those managing public parks.
Metal collars, a metre or more wide, are placed around the trunks of the trees in which possums have their habitat hollows. The bands are intended to encourage the possums to leave their trees and find alternative living spaces. In fact possums, reluctant to leave established territories, become trapped by the collars, eventually leading to their starvation and dehydration. Those intrepid enough to leap over the bands are unable to re-access their hollows and are left homeless and vulnerable. Stranded possums become victims of predation by cats and dogs or mother possums become separated from young which have been left for safekeeping in the habitat tree. With very poor eyesight in daylight conditions possums quickly become disoriented and in danger of being run down in city traffic. Electrified fencing is another cruel deterrent measure used by open space managers that zaps possums with an electric current if they attempt to climb a fence into parkland or a private garden.
Councils applying these cruel strategies justify their use as non-lethal wildlife management, unwilling to face the truth that tree bands are wildlife death traps.
Animal Active has provided ongoing support to the possums of Melbourne’s Curtain Square, an inner urban park where resident wildlife has been forced to endure countless acts of cruelty at the hands of the municipal council and some local residents. Join our Possum Watch program and get to know the possums of Curtain Square up close and personal. Free guided tours all year round but bookings are necessary. Contact Us for details.
Join our Save the Curtain Square Possums page on Facebook
Read Animal Active’s report on Melbourne City Council’s Brushtail Possum cruelty here
Find out more about possum myths & facts here
Support our work for urban possums through our “Adopt A Possum” donor program here
Jump into Action for Kangaroos
The largest massacre of land animals on the planet takes place in Australia each year.
Millions of adult kangaroos are shot for their meat and skins for luxury items such as
soccer boots, "bush meat" or degrading souvenirs such as kangaroo scrotum purses.
Millions of orphaned baby joeys, 'the waste products' of the industry, are shot, stamped
on, clubbed over the head or abandoned to die. In-pouch joeys are routinely ripped from
their mothers' pouches and decapitated, or bludgeoned to death. Occasionally they are shot.
Joeys at foot are usually left to starve or to meet death by predation. There is no record
of numbers of joeys killed or left to starve.
Animal Active opposes the kangaroo leather and meat industries as well as the so-called “damage mitigation” killing of kangaroos where no commercial killing is permitted. Permits are issued to farmers/landholders by the state government allowing the shooting of thousands of kangaroos in place of erecting kangaroo proof fences or restoring habitat that has been degraded by farming practices. Damage mitigation slaughter of kangaroos also entails bludgeoning in-pouch young or leaving at-heel joeys without a mother. They die slowly as victims of starvation or predation.
In order to supply its enlarging commercial markets, the kangaroo industry continues the profit-driven kill even during drought when kangaroo numbers are at an all-time low. The primary targets of the shooters are the biggest and strongest animals, those kangaroos who are essential in passing on their strong genes for the survival of the species.
“Australia is presently slaughtering kangaroos at the same time as the Minister of the Environment is condemning Japan for killing whales. Despite the fact that kangaroos are a protected species under the 1975 Wildlife Act, the Minister is supporting the slaughter saying that the kill is ‘humane’ and ‘properly administered’…The Japanese say the exact same thing about their whale slaughter-that it is humane and properly managed.” - Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
"The realities of the kangaroo industry: extensive and alarmingly unhygienic practices, unacceptable suffering of young kangaroos and the manufacture of false hope that kangaroo harvesting will alleviate environmental degradation in rural areas." - Dr. Ben Ami
Join the international campaign to save the kangaroo at www.savethekangaroo.com
Learn about Australian Wildlife Protection Council's work to protect kangaroos nation-wide here
Read Dr. Ben Ami’s full report ‘A Shot in the Dark’ here
Read Animal Active’s report 'Clean, Green & Sustainable Kangaroo Meat? Examining the Myth' here
Find out more about the cruelty suffered by kangaroos from Voiceless: The Animal Protection Institute
Experience the outback cruelty of kangaroo killing - watch video investigations here
Watch ABC documentary 'Kangaroos: Faces in the Mob' to understand kangaroos' complex social structure and the tragic implications of their slaughter