Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Nature reclaiming suburbs


Possums are moving into abandoned Christchurch suburbs and a very rare bird has returned to the city as wildlife reacts to the earthquakes.
The growing number of possums is just one of many changes in local wildlife in response to population and landscape changes in eastern Christchurch, including tree saplings already sprouting on empty sites and a potential fall in birds such as pukekos.
Landcare Research pest control scientist Janine Duckworth said possums would prosper in the red zone as humans leave.
"It doesn't surprise me that we are seeing more of them as they do try to avoid people. With fewer dogs in the areas that will allow them to move into places they may not have been able to take advantage of in the past. If they are less disturbed, then more young possums will grow into adults," she said.
Richmond resident Rex Collins found a possum the size of a "fox terrier" on the roof of his home. It is the first he has encountered in 16 years of living in the suburb.
"We woke up in the middle of the night to this loud crashing sound on the roof. We have this problem with squatters next door, so we thought it was someone jumping on our roof. We rang the police and they came pretty quickly. They had a good look around and then they found this huge possum," he said.
"He was about the size of a fox terrier in body size. He had these huge big round eyes about the size of $2 coins."
"A lot of wildlife is coming back into the area. The wildlife is taking over again."
Sub5 security officer Rory Garland, who patrols the red zone for Cera, has also seen many possums on his night patrols.
"I have seen about three or four possums. I saw one just sitting in the middle of the road. In the end it went up a power pole."

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