New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1982) 5: 21- 28

Effect of Commercial Hunters on the Number of Possums, Trichosurus vulpecula, in Orongorongo Valley, Wellington

Research Article
R. E. Brockie  
  1. Ecology Division, DSIR, Private Bag, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

The relative abundance of possum faecal pellets in two neighbouring blocks of lowland rimu-rata forest was measured. On the commercially-trapped and poisoned block, 12.9% of sample plots contained pellets, compared with 26.3% on the other block free of hunters for 14 years. On the commercially exploited block there was a mean 0.215 pellets/m2 compared with 0.347/m2 on the untrapped block, which was probably carrying its full capacity of 9.0-12.3 possums/ha. If the relative abundance of faecal pellets directly reflects the relative abundance of possums, the trappers were holding possum numbers to between 49% and 63% of the full carrying capacity, though the confidence limits for these figures cannot be calculated.