Introduced into New Zealand about 150 years ago from Australia, the brushtail possum multiplied to over 70,000,000 by the 1980s. With no predators, this pest has decimated huge tracts of New Zealand native forests eating 21,000 tons of vegetation nightly. Both bird life (including the Kiwi) and many unique types of trees are threatened with extinction because of the brushtail possum. This marsupial is only very distantly related to the American Opossum.
Pic from Wiki
There are no native predators of the possum in New Zealand. There have been numerous attempts to eradicate them, because of the damage they do to native trees and wildlife, as well as acting as a carrier of bovine tuberculosis. For New Zealand, the ecologically disastrous effects of the introduction of possums can be described as similar to that of the introduction of rabbits and cane toads in Australia.
Since 1996, efforts have been made to use possum fur in clothing. A blend of Australian brush tailed possum fur with merino wool was developed by Untouched World, a New Zealand fashion label. The product is called merinomink, eco-possum, possumdown, eco fur or possum wool, and accounts for 95% of all commercially caught possum fur. Possum fur is also used for fur trim, jackets, bed throws, and possum leather gloves. All the fur is obtained from wild-caught possums, which are considered pests.
In 2009, it was announced that conservation measures (such as by the DOC) had met some significant success, and had reduced the possum numbers to less than half of the 1980s levels, a drop from around 70 million to around 30 million animals. Almost half (13.3 million hectares) of New Zealand's vegetated land is under some form of possum control, either for conservation reasons, or to reduce the spread of bovine tuberculosis.