Here’s a postcard sent to me from New Zealand! Read on at your own risk – this is gonna be a bumpy ride. Mostly because of what’s underneath. This here is an illustration of a common sight along the New Zealand roads – headlights illuminating a wide-eyed possum! Possums are a type of marsupial found mostly in the Oceanian countries, and they’re not to be confused with the “opossum” (also a marsupial but very different). Possums were declared to be pests in New Zealand in 1946. In case you ever wondered, a “pest” is an organism that is invasive and damaging to agriculture, to the point of being a threat to humans. This includes bearing diseases, damaging infrastructure, eating crops, and harming livestock. Possums easily fit the bill here. Since being introduced to New Zealand in the mid-1800s, the population of possums has exploded, peaking at 60-70 million in the 1980s. The threat they pose is that they consume native flora, harm the local animals (such as endangered birds), and often carry bovine tuberculosis, which particularly affects farm animals. So, there’s a common sentiment in the country to take out possums when seen. If a possum is on the road, one might accelerate for a little speed bump action. Campaigns have been set up to get rid of possums and other rodents. Hunters and trappers make a massive living off hunting possums and selling their fur. The sender even told me you can find chocolates shaped like flattened possums! Now I won’t comment on the morality of all this, since that’s up in the air, but I can say I learned a lot… and I’m glad I’m not a possum! Thank you so much for sending me this surprise card and for all the info you included, Nina!