Living World

Making possums pay

Introduced over 150 years ago as the basis for a fur trade, the Australian brush-tail possum has instead become an ecological plague, chomping its way through millions of tonnes of forest foliage a year. In 1992, when New Zealand Geographic first covered the possum problem, the fur market was moribund. But now, as global fashion trends swing back in favour of fur, the possum is again serving its original purpose—if not for its fur pure and simple, then for the latest innovation, its fur as fibre.

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