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Proceedings of the First Symposium on Marsupials in New Zealand

Topic 11: Communication Amongst Marsupial Workers

page 272

Topic 11: Communication Amongst Marsupial Workers

CUMMINS. In discussions on the issue of 1080 poison, it seems there is a communication problem, or perhaps it is just a general conflict of interests. There must be people in the audience who have ideas about improving communication, either by symposia such as this one, through a journal, or through other types of meeting.

LEES. My own area of concern regards communicating to children the risks of disease from coming into contact with possums. In the zoo we often meet children who keep possums as pets. It is illegal, but a large number of children do it. So publicity is needed, and it is important the children of New Zealand learn about this.

CUMMINS. Professor Blackmore referred to the schools' publication on this aspect in our Workshop session on diseases and public health. I think it is worthwhile to keep the possum in perspective - most domestic animals can be health hazards if precautions are not taken.

B.D. BELL. Regarding the risk of leptospirosis from possums, I think most children keep young possums as pets. Mr Hathaway pointed out in his paper that its incidence only becomes high in sexually mature animals, so perhaps the risks regarding Leptospira are not that great in the majority of pet possums. Nevertheless, I endorse the need to caution children against disease risks in general from pet animals, whether of domestic or wild origin.

GREEN. I personally have found this a most useful and enjoyable two days. I would sincerely hope that it will not be the first and only symposium on marsupials held in New Zealand*. I will certainly be talking with Peter Harper about his electrophoresis techniques. I would suggest there is room for increasing the times that we get together as people with like interests, or even as people with dissimilar but related interests. I for one have been very grateful for the opportunity to be here.

BROCKIE. The possum community is often criticised for lack of communication between themselves and people outside. I am fairly new to the world of possums but I think it's something of a myth. I think there is a great deal of communication; perhaps I am biased through having worked in several government page 273 departments, for there is certainly much traffic of documents between them. A blockage seems to occur between government departments and various interested groups, such as Federated Farmers and perhaps the fur or meat traders. On the whole though communication is better than generally thought.

HARPER. As an outsider I have found this conference very interesting. I think we ought to find out if we can have some sort of newsletter or some form of similar communication between the universities, the government departments, and other interested parties. I think it is extremely important to resolve good communications amongst marsupial people. (A newsletter The Possum Post is now in circulation in New Zealand - Editor).

page 274

Those papers marked with an asterisk appear in the 49th ANZAAS Congress Abstracts, Volume 1, Section 11 (Zoology), pp. 319–322 (1979).

* see footnote over page.


At the 49th Congress of ANZAAS held at Auckland in January 1979 a further symposium entitled 'Marsupial Biology' was held under the chairmanship of Dr C.H. Tyndale-Biscoe at which the following papers were to be presented:

TYNDALE-BISCOE, C.H. Recent developments in marsupial biology.

BELL, B.D., BROCKIE, R.E., COWAN, P.E., EFFORD, M.G. & WHITE, A.J.* Demography of Trichosurus vulpecula in Australia and New Zealand.

COLEMAN, J.D. & GREEN, W.Q.* Dispersion of opossums within a Westland podocarp mixed hardwood forest.

GREEN, W.Q. & COLEMAN, J.D.* Nightly movement patterns of Trichosurus vulpecula as derived from radio-telemetry data and their relationship to forest/pasture habitat types.

FITZGERALD, A.E. & WARD, G.D.* Changing diet and activity patterns of the brush-tailed opossum in New Zealand broadleaf podocarp forest.

BATCHELOR, T.A.* A behavioural study of the rock wallaby (Petrogale penicillata) on Motutapu Island, New Zealand.

ALLEN, N.T. The function of the cloacal gland in two species of opossums.

BROWN, G.D. Studies of the environmental physiology of marsupials using multichannel telemetry.

BAUDINETTE, R.V.* The physiological correlate of locomotion in marsupials.

MILLER, J.H.* The uptake of p-aminohippurate by renal cortical slices in the possum Trichosurus vulpecula.

CATLING, D.C. & SUTHERLAND, R.C. Seasonal variation and effect of gonad ectomy on levels of LH, FSH and testosterone in male tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii).

TYNDALE-BISCOE, C.H. Hormonal control of embryonic diapause and reactivation in the tammar wallaby.