“I think someone has been killing possums lately. For the last few years that grapevine on my fence was eaten up by possums, but now it’s lush and full of fruit.” A neighbour said these disturbing words to me last week.
I do think that community hatred for possums has escalated into open war. If this is so, possums don’t stand a chance.
Possums are a legally protected species, with penalties for anyone caught killing them. But who is to know whether a death is accidental or not, if a nocturnal creature is quietly poisoned in the shadows of suburban streetlights?
The Dalai Lama has been visiting Melbourne for the World Parliament of Religions. His parting words were that only values like compassion could solve the world’s moral crisis.
Compassion and empathy are mirror images of the other. Could we not develop understanding, compassion and empathy for the wildlife that is rapidly disappearing in our suburban gardens?
Possums, birds, reptiles and insects don’t share fairly with us, who plant, tend and own the vine or tree or plants on which they feast. But let us remember that they don’t have our option of topping up at the supermarket. They are hungry not greedy. For them food is a matter of survival.