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The brushtail possum is common in Sydney's bushland suburbs, where it is often valued and made welcome. However, some suburban residents do not either value or welcome brushtail possums on their properties. This study probed the attitudes of both groups of people towards the animals and the environment more generally. It was found that amongst brushtail possum lovers, the animals were seen as simultaneously cute and familiar, and as emblematic of endangered Australian wildlife and natural environments in general. People who did not like or value brushtail possums expressed attitudes in accordance with a dominionistic value system.

Unlicensed trapping of brushtail possums was reported and the existence of a pool of privately owned traps was confirmed. Brushtail possums were reported to have been transported to nearby parks or bushland areas. Usually no provisions for food and water were made while the animal was in the trap. It was known by unlicensed trappers that relocated animals are not thought to fare well but this did not deter them.

Linkages were demonstrated between peoples' underlying values and their attitude and behaviour towards brushtail possums. It is suggested that if change is to be effected then education also needs to target underlying values and attitudes towards animals and the environment rather than just filling fact voids.

Several instances of severe ill-treatment of brushtail possums were disclosed during the study which may indicate further attention to legislative provisions and management options is required.

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics). 2008a. 2006 Census MapStats: Sydney (Statistical Division, High Income Households: Households with gross weekly income of 2500 dollars or more as a percentage of all households based on place of usual residence, 2006 Sydney (Statistical Division) by Statistical Local Area. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/home/home, Accessed April 2008
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics). 2008b 2006 Census Community Profile Series: Sydney (Statistical Division). Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/home/home Accessed April 2008.
Australian Broadcasting commission (ABC). 2007. http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/2006/s1904205.htm
Canfield, P. J., Hartley, W. J. and Dubey, J. P. 1990. Lesions of toxoplasmosis in Australian marsupials. Journal of Comparative Pathology 103: 159-167.
Chilvers, B. L., Cowan, P., Waddington, D. C., Kelly, P. J. and Brown, T. J. 1998. The prevalence of infection of Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp. in wild animals on farmland, southeastern North Island, New Zealand. International Journal of Environmental Health Research 8: 59-64.
Cowan, P. and Clout, M. 2000. Possums on the move: Activity patterns, home ranges, and dispersal. Pp. 24-34 in The brushtail possum - biology, impact and management of an introduced marsupial ed by T.L. Montague. Manaaki Whenua Press: Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Clinchy, M., Taylor, A. C., Zanette, L. Y., Krebs, C. J. and Jarman, P. J. 2004. Body size, age and paternity in common brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula). Molecular Ecology 13: 195-202.
Davies, R. G., Webber, L. M. and Barnes, G. S. 2004. Urban wildlife management - it's as much about people! Pp. 38-43 in Urban wildlife: more than meets the eye, edited by D. Lunney and S. Burgin. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales: Mosman.
DECC (New South Wales Government Department for Environment and Climate Change). 2007. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/wildlifemanagement/KMPZoneQuotas2007.htm Accessed April 2008.
DECC (New South Wales Government Department for Environment and Climate Change). 2008. www.environment.nsw.gov.au/plantsanimals/RemovingAPossumFromYourRoof.htm Accessed April 2008.
DEHSA (Department of the Environment and Heritage - South Australia). 2008. http://www.deh.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/possums.html#trapping Accessed April 2008.
deLacey, C. and Chamberlain, S. 2007. Planting for possums: Prime Pickings or Prohibited Provender: A discussion paper from a horticultural and wildlife care perspective. Pp 99-116 in: Pest or Guest: the zoology of overabundance, edited by D. Lunney, P. Eby, P. Hutchings and S. Burgin. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW, Australia.
DSE (Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment). 2008 http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dse/nrenpa.nsf/FID/-896622525C7E9C114A2569AB002898B3?OpenDocument Accessed April 2008.
Eymann, J. 2006. Management of urban common brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula). PhD thesis, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109.
Eymann, J., Herbert, C. A. and Cooper, D. W. 2006a. Management issues of urban brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula) - a loved or hated neighbour. Australian Mammalogy 28: 153-171.
Eymann, J., Herbert, C. A., Cooper, D. W. and Dubey, J.P. 2006b. Serologic survey for Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in the common brushtail possum ( Trichosurus vulpecula) from urban Sydney, Australia. Journal of Parasitology 92 (2): 267-272.
Eymann J., Smythe L. D., Symonds, M. L., Dohnt, M. F., Barnett, L. J., Cooper, D. W. and Herbert, C. A. 2007. Leptospirosis Serology in the Common Brushtail Possum ( Trichosurus vulpecula) from Urban Sydney, Australia. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 43(3): 492-497.
Fayer, R., Dubey, J. P. and Lindsay, D. S. 2004. Zoonotic protozoa: from land to sea. Trends in Parasitology 20: 531-536.
Gaby, S. 2003. The ethical pregnancy: reproductive choice in the context of prenatal testing. PhD Thesis, Macquarie University, Sydney NSW 2109
Gibbs G. 2002 Qualitative data analysis. Open University Press, Birmingham.
Glaser B. and Strauss A. 1967 Discovery of grounded theory; strategies for qualitative research. Sociology Press, New York.
Goldingay, R. L. and Jackson, S. M. (eds.), 2004 The biology of Australian possums and gliders. Surrey Beatty and Sons Pty Limited, NSW, Australia, pp. 574.
Hadfield, L. 2008. The Public Debate on Genetic Modification (GM) - Varieties of Understanding. Pp 143-158 in Seeking Environmental Justice, edited by S. L. Wilks, Rodopi, Amsterdam.
Harper, M. J. 2005. Home range and den use of common brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula) in urban forest remnants. Wildlife Research 32:681-687.
Hemsley, S. and Canfield, P. J. 1994. Dermatitis in free-living common brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula). Australian Veterinary Practitioner 3: 147-155.
IHT (International Herald Tribune). 2008 http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/13/asia/australia.php
Isaac, J. L. 2005. Life history and demographics of an island possum. Australian Journal of Zoology 53:195-203.
Kerle, A. 2001 Possums - the brushtails, ringtails and greater glider. University of New South Wales Press Ltd: Sydney, Australia.
Levett, P. N. 2001. Leptospirosis. Clinical Microbiology Reviews 14: 296-326.
Mason, R. J., Fleming, P. J. S., Smythe, L. D., Dohnt, M. F., Norris, M. A. and Symonds, M. L. 1998. Leptospira interrogans antibodies in feral pigs from New South Wales. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 34: 738-743.
Matthews, A., Lunney, D., Waples, K. and Hardy, J. 2004. Brushtail Possums: “Champions of the suburbs” or “Our tormentors”? Pp. 159-168 in Urban Wildlife: more than meets the eye, edited by D. Lunney and S. Burgin. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman NSW, Australia.
Menkhorst, P. W. and Knight, F. 2004 A field guide to the mammals of Australia. Second edition. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Victoria.
Miller K. Brown P. R. and Temby I. 1999. Attitudes towards possums: a need for education? The Victorian Naturalist 116: 120-127.
Miller, K. K. 2003. Public and stakeholder values of wildlife in Victoria, Australia. Wildlife Research 30:465-476.
Montague, T. L. 2000 The Brushtail Possum - Biology, impact and management of an introduced marsupial. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, New Zealand, 292 p.
NSW DPI (New South Wales Department of Primary Industry). 2005. Animal research review panel NSW annual report. NSW Department of Primary Industries, 161 Kite St, Locked Bag 21, Orange, NSW 2800.
Pietsch, R. S. 1994. The fate of common brushtail possums translocated to sclerophyll forest. Pp. 239-246 in Reintroduction biology of Australian and New Zealand fauna, edited by M. Serena. Surrey Beatty and Sons: Chipping Norton.
Russell, T. 2008. Masters Thesis, in preparation. Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109.
SBS (Special Broadcasting Service). 2008. International outcry over kangaroo cull http://news.sbs.com.au/worldnewsaustralia/international_outcry_over_kangaroo_cull_542598 Accessed April 2008.
Statham and Statham H.L. 1997. Movements and habits of brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula Kerr) in an urban area. Wildlife Research 24: 715-726.
Sturdee, A. P., Chalmers, R.M. and Bull, S.A. 1999. Detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts in wild mammals of mainland Britain. Veterinary Parasitology 80: 273-280.
Temby, I. 2007. Pest or guest - some perspectives of abundant wildlife in Victoria. Pp 150-157 in Pest or Guest: the zoology of overabundance. Edited by D. Lunney, P. Eby, P. Hutchings, and S. Burgin, S. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW, Australia.
Viggers, K. and Spratt, D. 1995. The parasites recorded from Trichosurus species (Maruspialia, Phalangeridae). Wildlife Research 22: 311-332.
Wilks, S. L. 2007 Rubbish, Bags and Koalas. Case studies in environmentalism. PhD Thesis, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109.
Wilks, S. L. 2008. How many Koalas are there on Kangaroo Island? Pp 203-224 in Seeking Environmental Justice, edited by S. L. Wilks, Rodopi, Amsterdam.
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References

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics). 2008a. 2006 Census MapStats: Sydney (Statistical Division, High Income Households: Households with gross weekly income of 2500 dollars or more as a percentage of all households based on place of usual residence, 2006 Sydney (Statistical Division) by Statistical Local Area. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/home/home, Accessed April 2008
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics). 2008b 2006 Census Community Profile Series: Sydney (Statistical Division). Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/home/home Accessed April 2008.
Australian Broadcasting commission (ABC). 2007. http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/2006/s1904205.htm
Canfield, P. J., Hartley, W. J. and Dubey, J. P. 1990. Lesions of toxoplasmosis in Australian marsupials. Journal of Comparative Pathology 103: 159-167.
Chilvers, B. L., Cowan, P., Waddington, D. C., Kelly, P. J. and Brown, T. J. 1998. The prevalence of infection of Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp. in wild animals on farmland, southeastern North Island, New Zealand. International Journal of Environmental Health Research 8: 59-64.
Cowan, P. and Clout, M. 2000. Possums on the move: Activity patterns, home ranges, and dispersal. Pp. 24-34 in The brushtail possum - biology, impact and management of an introduced marsupial ed by T.L. Montague. Manaaki Whenua Press: Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Clinchy, M., Taylor, A. C., Zanette, L. Y., Krebs, C. J. and Jarman, P. J. 2004. Body size, age and paternity in common brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula). Molecular Ecology 13: 195-202.
Davies, R. G., Webber, L. M. and Barnes, G. S. 2004. Urban wildlife management - it's as much about people! Pp. 38-43 in Urban wildlife: more than meets the eye, edited by D. Lunney and S. Burgin. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales: Mosman.
DECC (New South Wales Government Department for Environment and Climate Change). 2007. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/wildlifemanagement/KMPZoneQuotas2007.htm Accessed April 2008.
DECC (New South Wales Government Department for Environment and Climate Change). 2008. www.environment.nsw.gov.au/plantsanimals/RemovingAPossumFromYourRoof.htm Accessed April 2008.
DEHSA (Department of the Environment and Heritage - South Australia). 2008. http://www.deh.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/possums.html#trapping Accessed April 2008.
deLacey, C. and Chamberlain, S. 2007. Planting for possums: Prime Pickings or Prohibited Provender: A discussion paper from a horticultural and wildlife care perspective. Pp 99-116 in: Pest or Guest: the zoology of overabundance, edited by D. Lunney, P. Eby, P. Hutchings and S. Burgin. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW, Australia.
DSE (Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment). 2008 http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dse/nrenpa.nsf/FID/-896622525C7E9C114A2569AB002898B3?OpenDocument Accessed April 2008.
Eymann, J. 2006. Management of urban common brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula). PhD thesis, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109.
Eymann, J., Herbert, C. A. and Cooper, D. W. 2006a. Management issues of urban brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula) - a loved or hated neighbour. Australian Mammalogy 28: 153-171.
Eymann, J., Herbert, C. A., Cooper, D. W. and Dubey, J.P. 2006b. Serologic survey for Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in the common brushtail possum ( Trichosurus vulpecula) from urban Sydney, Australia. Journal of Parasitology 92 (2): 267-272.
Eymann J., Smythe L. D., Symonds, M. L., Dohnt, M. F., Barnett, L. J., Cooper, D. W. and Herbert, C. A. 2007. Leptospirosis Serology in the Common Brushtail Possum ( Trichosurus vulpecula) from Urban Sydney, Australia. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 43(3): 492-497.
Fayer, R., Dubey, J. P. and Lindsay, D. S. 2004. Zoonotic protozoa: from land to sea. Trends in Parasitology 20: 531-536.
Gaby, S. 2003. The ethical pregnancy: reproductive choice in the context of prenatal testing. PhD Thesis, Macquarie University, Sydney NSW 2109
Gibbs G. 2002 Qualitative data analysis. Open University Press, Birmingham.
Glaser B. and Strauss A. 1967 Discovery of grounded theory; strategies for qualitative research. Sociology Press, New York.
Goldingay, R. L. and Jackson, S. M. (eds.), 2004 The biology of Australian possums and gliders. Surrey Beatty and Sons Pty Limited, NSW, Australia, pp. 574.
Hadfield, L. 2008. The Public Debate on Genetic Modification (GM) - Varieties of Understanding. Pp 143-158 in Seeking Environmental Justice, edited by S. L. Wilks, Rodopi, Amsterdam.
Harper, M. J. 2005. Home range and den use of common brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula) in urban forest remnants. Wildlife Research 32:681-687.
Hemsley, S. and Canfield, P. J. 1994. Dermatitis in free-living common brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula). Australian Veterinary Practitioner 3: 147-155.
IHT (International Herald Tribune). 2008 http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/13/asia/australia.php
Isaac, J. L. 2005. Life history and demographics of an island possum. Australian Journal of Zoology 53:195-203.
Kerle, A. 2001 Possums - the brushtails, ringtails and greater glider. University of New South Wales Press Ltd: Sydney, Australia.
Levett, P. N. 2001. Leptospirosis. Clinical Microbiology Reviews 14: 296-326.
Mason, R. J., Fleming, P. J. S., Smythe, L. D., Dohnt, M. F., Norris, M. A. and Symonds, M. L. 1998. Leptospira interrogans antibodies in feral pigs from New South Wales. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 34: 738-743.
Matthews, A., Lunney, D., Waples, K. and Hardy, J. 2004. Brushtail Possums: “Champions of the suburbs” or “Our tormentors”? Pp. 159-168 in Urban Wildlife: more than meets the eye, edited by D. Lunney and S. Burgin. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman NSW, Australia.
Menkhorst, P. W. and Knight, F. 2004 A field guide to the mammals of Australia. Second edition. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Victoria.
Miller K. Brown P. R. and Temby I. 1999. Attitudes towards possums: a need for education? The Victorian Naturalist 116: 120-127.
Miller, K. K. 2003. Public and stakeholder values of wildlife in Victoria, Australia. Wildlife Research 30:465-476.
Montague, T. L. 2000 The Brushtail Possum - Biology, impact and management of an introduced marsupial. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, New Zealand, 292 p.
NSW DPI (New South Wales Department of Primary Industry). 2005. Animal research review panel NSW annual report. NSW Department of Primary Industries, 161 Kite St, Locked Bag 21, Orange, NSW 2800.
Pietsch, R. S. 1994. The fate of common brushtail possums translocated to sclerophyll forest. Pp. 239-246 in Reintroduction biology of Australian and New Zealand fauna, edited by M. Serena. Surrey Beatty and Sons: Chipping Norton.
Russell, T. 2008. Masters Thesis, in preparation. Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109.
SBS (Special Broadcasting Service). 2008. International outcry over kangaroo cull http://news.sbs.com.au/worldnewsaustralia/international_outcry_over_kangaroo_cull_542598 Accessed April 2008.
Statham and Statham H.L. 1997. Movements and habits of brushtail possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula Kerr) in an urban area. Wildlife Research 24: 715-726.
Sturdee, A. P., Chalmers, R.M. and Bull, S.A. 1999. Detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts in wild mammals of mainland Britain. Veterinary Parasitology 80: 273-280.
Temby, I. 2007. Pest or guest - some perspectives of abundant wildlife in Victoria. Pp 150-157 in Pest or Guest: the zoology of overabundance. Edited by D. Lunney, P. Eby, P. Hutchings, and S. Burgin, S. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW, Australia.
Viggers, K. and Spratt, D. 1995. The parasites recorded from Trichosurus species (Maruspialia, Phalangeridae). Wildlife Research 22: 311-332.
Wilks, S. L. 2007 Rubbish, Bags and Koalas. Case studies in environmentalism. PhD Thesis, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109.
Wilks, S. L. 2008. How many Koalas are there on Kangaroo Island? Pp 203-224 in Seeking Environmental Justice, edited by S. L. Wilks, Rodopi, Amsterdam.
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