Call for help from citizen scientists! - Predator Free Whangarei

Call for help from citizen scientists!

Could you help the Possum Free Whangārei Heads project with collecting possum DNA samples?

The Possum Free Whangārei Heads project is in need of more possum DNA samples and is asking locals for help.

This project is one of the many large landscape scale Predator Free projects in New Zealand, working to eliminate possums from 9,000+ hectares of the peninsula.

DNA samples are increasingly critical for the project as more possums are removed from the working block areas.

The DNA from possum ears will be used to provide a genetic database that will help the project in the future to determine movement patterns of possums. Understanding these factors will help the team respond appropriately when and if incursions happen in the future.

Possums do not have a large home range, meaning that with the DNA samples, we will be able to determine if we have truly removed possums from a certain area, or, if there was a leaky barrier where a new possum has moved in from.

This will help the project understand whether or not it should strengthen its barrier, or if it needs to have a closer look at where possums were previously thought to have been eliminated.

How can I help?

If you are a Whangārei Heads local and suspect there is a possum around, please set a trap and once the possum has been caught, you can go to your local G.A.S Parua Bay station to collect a DNA sample kit. The project is grateful to have G.A.S Parua Bay as a DNA kit pick up and drop off shop!

The DNA kit includes a hardcopy of the instructions but you can also watch a step by step video on our Facebook page.

Here’s a PDF of the DNA instructions sheet: Possum DNA Instructions Sheet

We also have a ‘Report a Possum’ functionality on our page where locals can report any sightings of possums, whether it is from just their scat, hissing noises, or scratch marks.

Thank you to all the landowners that helped with collecting DNA samples so far and supporting a Predator Free Whangārei! Thank you once again to G.A.S Parua Bay for being our DNA kit pick up and drop off location!


February 21, 2024