US Journalist knows nothing about NZ, and quotes anti mining snail hugger Nikola Toki to prove it

Bloody hell, I don’t even know where to start. The article that I am about to pick apart piece by piece has almost left me beyond words….almost. It just goes to show you why intellect depleted vegans should stay off the internet, and out of other peoples business.

The following article is riddled with mistakes, bullshit, misinformation, ignorance and downright stupidity in regards to a pest at the centre of decades of controversy: the common brushtail possum.  Chicago based journalist Rachel Gross  (trained and skilled?) writing for The Atlantic who would feel more than at home at the Herald, has given her worthless empty thoughts towards a NZ problem.

And she doesn’t get off to a good start either. This is what a possum in NZ is meant to look like:

whoops, wrong picture!


But here comes the slurry of incompetence, please bear with me because this is a long one. Some of the insanely stupid comments will be in bold text, but not all. That would incorporate the entire article.


It sucks to be a possum in New Zealand. Cars swerve to hit you. Guns point toward you. People feed you little green pellets that taste like cinnamon, only afterwards they taste like poison death. Plus, no one ever gets your name right.

But if you are a possum, brace yourself: it’s about to suck more. New Zealanders are rallying to launch an all-out war against their furry foes, following a scientist’s dying vision for a “Pest-Free New Zealand.” Those pests include (take a breath): rabbits, rats, weasels, cats, stoats, goats, deer, and hedgehogs … but mostly, possums. “It’s a pretty easy sell,” said zoologist Nicola Toki, a passionate supporter of the plan who works for the Animal Health Board. “We relate our national identity to our native wildlife. And everybody hates possums.”

Islands make up 3 percent of the world’s landmass, yet they harbor a massive fraction of its species. Many of those species are uniquely vulnerable to invaders, e.g. possums. To wipe out mammals on an island as big as New Zealand would be “a huge challenge,” said Dan Simberloff, an invasion biologist at the University of Tennessee. But if they pull it off? “It’d be the greatest triumph of invasion management the world has ever seen.”

Well yes it would Dan, but tell me, where’s this island called New Zealand?

In other words, New Zealand could serve as a beacon of hope to threatened biodiversity hotspots worldwide, like Hawaii and the Galapagos islands.

Possums have been a thorn in New Zealand’s side since the day they arrived. That’s because, for 80 million years, this South Pacific nation was a land of birds — flapping, singing, deafening, glorious. “The most melodious wild musick I have ever heard,” journaled Captain Cook’s botanist, Joseph Banks, in 1770. Then Europe brought the rodents. Off the boat they scampered, into what must have seemed like possum paradise: a green Eden filled with tender trees and land-dwelling birds more tasty than hasty. 

Hang on a second, the rodents scampered off the boat did they? Firstly possums aren’t a rodent they are a marsupial, and secondly they didn’t scamper off any boat. They were introduced to establish a fur trade. Research you incompetent morons, research.

Massacre was swift. Today, many consider possums Public Enemy #1. It isn’t that they’re more destructive than, say, cats (which we now know are secret serial killers); they aren’t.

Oh ok, so we’ll ignore the tens of thousands of tonnes of vegetation they consume each night, killing entire trees by defoliating them over a period of time, destruction of canopy trees which are replaced by shrublands. From the DOC site:

Loss of flowers:

  • preventing the formation of seeds
  • removing nectar sources for birds and bats
  • reducing the food supply for many invertebrates
  • nectar loss reducing food supplies for chicks, e.g. kaka, tui.

Loss of fruits:

  • reducing food supplies for birds and invertebrates
  • affecting bird breeding condition and nesting success, e.g. kakapo, kereru
  • reducing or eliminating seed dispersal
  • reducing the regenerative capacity of native plants.

Loss of new shoots:

  • reducing the ability of plants to overcome leaf loss from weather and seasonal patterns
  • reducing numbers of new leaves, jeopardising plant health

Anyway back to the comedy

It’s that there are 30 million of them in a country the size of Colorado. They chomp on wide swaths of forest, kill millions of birds and chicks a year, and go around spreading bovine tuberculosis to cows. “They’ve whittled our wildlife away,” Toki said mournfully. Plus, they’re Australian.

Yea, gotta watch out for that. Just the other day I saw a gang of possums in pursuit of a cow to try and give it TB.

For these reasons, New Zealand has been chipping away at their demise. It’s managed to clear possums and other mammals from more than a hundred offshore islands. It’s created wildlife havens ringed with fences, where the spotted kiwi once again waddles in peace. There’s even a campaign called Million Dollar Mouse, started by cat-hater and economist Gareth Morgan, that aims to remove rodents from the Antipodes Islands.

Oh FFS, it’s a kiwi not a duck. It walks. I’ve seen many Kiwi, not one was waddling. (except the one dying for a shit and looking for a good log to hide behind)

What would it take to tackle the mainland? “It would be a military operation,” predicts Charles Daugherty, an ecology professor at Victoria University who joined Toki at a radio forum called “Kill a Stoat, Save New Zealand” last August. The government already rains thousands of pounds of acontroversial poison onto hard-to-reach forest every year, just to keep pests at bay. To kill them all, Toki imagines “a series of rolling fronts” consisting of guns, traps, and more poison.

That statement right there is the prime example of why this batshit crazy woman Nicola Toki should be ignored. Anyone with any knowledge on the topic already knows that none of any one of these methods, nor a combination of any of them will ever eradicate every last possum, not now, not in 100 years. Possums are here to stay.

Such a feat won’t be cheap: a government report last month put it north of $25 billion. But don’t underestimate how much New Zealand loves its wildlife. Every morning, the country tunes in to Radio NZ for a special minute of birdsong before the news. There is a “national appetite” to return the country to its original avian paradise, Daugherty said. And many believe it could be done. After all, New Zealand has been leading the world at killing things for 25 years.

“Every morning, the country tunes in to Radio NZ for a special minute of birdsong before the news.” Excuse me, we all what? Ok, that had to be a pisstake

When it can, though, it tries to do so humanely. After all, are possums not also of the kingdom Animalia, class Mammalia? Are not their bodies four-legged, their hearts four-chambered? If you suckle them, do they not lactate? If you prick them, do they not warmly bleed? “Just because they’re a pest doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned with minimizing their distress,” said Kate Littin, a government adviser on animal welfare.

Plenty of New Zealanders couldn’t care less what a possum feels. But some do. Littin wants the example her country sets for the world to be one of “compassionate conservation.” After researching the effects of the poisons used on rats and possums, she helped come up with a framework of relative humaneness for pest control that’s now being used on rabbits across Australasia. “It’s not a revolution,” she said. “But it’s an evolution.”

Pestilence is in the eye of the beholder. Cross the Tasman Sea, and you’ll find possums in their native land, a rare species under national protection.

Protected yes, but rare? No. Research failure.

In fact, there’s amountain brushtail possum at the Australia Zoo who’s most likely getting mobbed for photos and fed grapes right now. She’s a twitchy thing, a pink nose framed by a halo of charcoal fur. Her name is Hope.

Go back to New Zealand, and hope is a different animal. It rests on poison, traps, and a whole lot of death. Pest-free is still a goal of the future — 20 years, minimum. But its champions are ready to begin. “Let’s start today,” declared Toki in August. “Let’s say that’s what we want to do, and let’s all go home and snot some small furry animal.”

Alright Nicola, newsflash, people have already been ‘snotting’ them for years, what planet have you been on? Aside from this atrocious article written by that sorry excuse of a journalist vegan Rachel Gross, it also goes to show how people with dangerous ideas like DOC Spokes….  er… Forest & Bird spo…er…big mouthed Animal Health Board employee Nicola Toki needs to be ignored.  

“rolling fronts consisting of guns, traps, and more poison.” Good grief, God help us all. And she’s supposed to be a passionate conservationist. I imagine she’ll end up regretting that statement one day. If not, I hope like hell she doesn’t find her way into politics.


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  • maninblack

    Toki has been a fucking nut for years. Anti mining anti everything.. but wanting 25billion to spend on possums!! ffs

  • JC

    I suspect the photo accompanying the article shows a US Virginia Opossum, not our Brushtail.


    • Travis Poulson

      Golden brushtail

  • Andy

    “To wipe out mammals…is a huge challenge” If you’re not picky, a neutron bomb would be pretty effective

  • cows4me

    It must be fate, just had the MAF man in this morning to read the cows for TB. Luckily whole herd clear till the next test in three years time. All herds in NZ are tested at least one every three years and the last thing you need is a reactor, cow with TB. TB must cost the country tens of millions a year all thanks to feral animals.
    Your picture of possum throwing upset hordes of townies when a local school had a possum throwing competition. The rage from animal rights groups had to be seen to be believed. It really highlight the growing disconnect between country and town. Miss? Gross sounds like one of these bitching ill informed townies who really fail to understand the issues rural NZ has with introduced species. She should stick to reporting fashion or food or one of the more serious city issues.

    • Travis Poulson

      A reactor isnt necessarily the end of the world either. I remember years ago we had 3 reactions in the herd, but came back negative after the blood test.

      • cows4me

        I had one with TB about 18 years ago, geez what a pain in the arse.

  • TomTom

    I ran over a huge possum the other day. It made my day so much better.

  • Patrick

    Wiping out mammals is the greenies raison d’être – not sure how they choose which humans get to live but I suspect being a rabid greenie party member would help. Kind of sounds like religions like the Jeeho’s or Tom Cruise’s mob. Mad as f&ck

  • Kacanga

    “Then Europe brought the rodents.”

    You mean kiore aren’t Tangata Whenua?

  • Hazards001

    “Oh FFS, it’s a kiwi not a duck. It walks. I’ve seen many Kiwi, not one was waddling. (except the one dying for a shit and looking for a good log to hide behind)”

    That was me ya bastage..and I want that photo :-)

    • Hazards001

      Seriously though there is no argument the fuckwits at animal welfare type groups can put out that should ever dissuade NZ from the attempts to keep the little aussie bastards under control. My mates and I made a fair bit of coin of possum skins when we were kids both from trapping and shooting. And I understand the fur trade (for the wool) is strong again today.

      At the end of the day though they do more harm than good to our country’s economy and I’d rather see them wiped off the face of all our Islands so Cows4me didn’t ever have to go through the bulllshit he would have with one cow tested positive in a herd. Bet that cost thousands in man hours and testing.

  • I shot four off the bedroom roof the other day after they decided to have a convention up there at 3am. Bloody things.

  • parorchestia

    Maoris brought Polynesian rats and dogs it wasn’t just Europeans that brought in pests.

  • parorchestia

    Oh, and I forgot. We had the possum population under control (dead right Cam, they will never be eliminated) when we had a healthy market for their fur. Now if the nutters in the anti-fur organisations would just shut up we might get them under control again at no cost to the taxpayer and providing a fair number of enterprising hunters with a decent income.