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