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Possum Wars - screened on ABC Sunday 15/12/2013 - featured Rheya Linden

Some time before the filming of "Possum Wars" the ABC posted this appeal to the public for stories about possums. See also : Possum Wars to air on ABC1.
You can watch Possum Wars on IView now at night around Australia, thousands of cute little native possums scamper across city rooftops seeking food and shelter in the great urban indoors that has tragically replaced the vast nurturing Australian forests. Forced out of their bush habitats by clearing and development, these brave marsupials must compete with noisy, destructive humans to survive in urban environments. "And when possums and people fight for real estate it’s war! Possum Wars lifts the lid on the private world of Australia’s most unwanted marsupial and its battle to survive in the big city." (ABC promotion for "Possum Wars," on Sunday, 15 December 2013)
A picture of the author, Gloria O'Possum, in a backpack, greeting a human friend, James Sinnamon, which was taken in 2009 and first appeared in an article by Menkit Prince, called, "Living with wild animals." That article has been read 6836 times since June 2009. Who says possums aren't popular?

Possum Activism

Readers of will be familiar with the possum wars at Catani Gardens and elsewhere in Victoria. Animal Active campaigner, Rheya Linden, features in this documentary on urban possums. She has long been a negotiator on behalf of possums with various councils.

Please ask that the woman who drowned a possum be prosecuted

By the way, advance information about this film, says that there is a human in it who boasts about drowning a possum. The name of this woman is not given out, but I am told that the RSPCA knows it. Do us a favour, write to the RSPCA, mentioning this film, and demand that they prosecute this woman for cruelty. If she is not prosecuted then people will watch this film and think that it is okay to do terrible things to possums. They might even get the idea that it is a good idea. Humans can be very dumb.

Some editorial advice for the ABC

As a possum insider, or an inside possum, (See my earlier article: "Living with humans - A possum responds to "Living with wild animals") I must say that the promoters of this ABC documentary are not doing us possums a favour with the following description as it was originally:

"Every night around Australia, thousands of native possums scamper across city rooftops in an endless quest for food and shelter. Forced out of their bush habitats by clearing and development, these mischievous marsupials swarm into cities where their raucous noise and destructive appetites bring them few friends. And when possums and people fight for real estate it’s war! Possum Wars lifts the lid on the private world of Australia’s most unwanted marsupial and its battle to survive in the big city." (ABC promotion for "Possum Wars," on Sunday, 15 December 2013).

Let's stand back and look at those statements objectively, shall we? In fact, let's look at the whole thing from a possum's perspective, high up in a tree, looking down at a bunch of urban humans at a BBQ, especially around Christmas. "Raucous noise and destructive appetites," describes these loud fatties to a T. No-one beats the human race for destructive appetites. Humans are so far to the forefront of fish depletion, forest destruction and noise creation that no other creature stands a chance in any competition with humans. Apart from some exceptions, they don't play fair with the rest of us. As for noise - have you tried to sleep up a telegraph pole by a road lately? It's impossible, yet, in some places, those are the only trees available, dead and strung with dangerous wires.

A final remark about noise. We possums are often lambasted for running loudly on roofs and whooping and wailing when we're feeling sexy or on nights of full moons. Humans claim not to be able to stand this. I am sure, however, that if we paid money to go into nightclubs and do the same thing, they would encourage our nocturnal celebrations. The bottom line with humans is, "Does it make money?" If it doesn't, then they want to replace it with something that does. Possums are not a commercial venture; they are a part of Life. We are pure. Our songs are not for sale. Our dances are not for copying. We're holding out for principles.

Once our beautiful banshee songs used to ring out so that we could find each other in the vast quiet of endless forests. Today we have to yell out even louder over the traffic noise to let each other know where we are. Bring back the forests, I say. Get rid of the houses. Australians used to live in modest bark huts and they didn't bother much more than we did with clothes. We got along then. Why can't this lot be more tolerant?

Please remember to write to the RSPCA asking that the woman who drowned the possum be prosecuted.

Pura Vida! as they say in Costa Rica (where they also have possums.)

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An animal rights group, ASK, has accused army personnel of inhumanely culling kangaroos at the Puckapunyal Army Base in central Victoria. They say that a cull of up to 18,000 kangaroos started on last Friday night.

Australia's attitude towards its native animals is abysmal. They are labelled as "pests", "plagues", environmental destroyers and are harassed and hounded as if they didn't belong here!

They accuse the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) of not following protocols, and are allowing joeys to stay in the pouches of dead mothers, and the kangaroos aren't being shot properly. A spokesman for the Department of Defence says it has engaged specialist contractors to conduct the cull in compliance with the national code of practice, and not their own personnel doing the job.

This carnage is a disgrace, and we expect our defence force to exhibit the highest moral and ethical standards - not descend to criminal killers of defenceless kangaroos.

See also : Humane kangaroo culling program at Puckapunyal begins — Australian Government Department of Defence media release of 20 May 2013, Army base blamed as kangaroo cull soars by Melissa Fyfe in the Age of 2 Nov 2012, Claims military base exceeded kangaroo cull quota in the McIvor Times of 29 Feb 2012, Population Dynamics and Animal Welfare: Issues Raised by the Culling of Kangaroos in Puckapunyal (behind paywall) in the Springer Link of Oct 2006, Protest Friday 25th July, 2003 — Puckapunyal Army Base-Plight Of Kangaroos on the Australian Wildlife Protection Council web-site of 9 Jul 2003, Kangaroos starving at Puckapunyal army base on ABC Radio's The World Today of 26 June 2003, $1.8m to shoot Army base kangaroos by Fia Cumming in the SMH of 6 Oct 2002, Army warning over kangaroo cull in the CNN of 20 May 2002, Shooters to cull 15,000 kangaroos in the News 24 archives of 17 May 2002.

Wildlife are protected species, and their management must be done with permits. That means they cannot be "culled" or killed without being prosecuted under the Wildlife Act 1975.

Blatantly, and callously, a woman on the Possum Wars program openly admitted that she filled a wheely bin with water and deliberately drowned a possum that was accessing her property! Their protection status is flagrantly ignored, and she openly admitted this crime, freely without fear of breaking the law. Instead of learning to live with possums, they are being vilified as a "pest". They have the audacity to survive spreading urbanisation!

Such is the thin veneer of wildlife protection! The RSPCA brushed it off as being a DEPI problem. Someone must know who this easily recognisable woman is, someone who must live in the Carlton area.

This woman must face up to the $5000 fine and a precedent set for the rest of the community.