Possums were originally introduced to New Zealand to establish a fur trade. Animals were released in a number of locations between 1858 and 1920. They spread out from their release points, and have gradually colonised the whole country – except for the highest mountains in the Southern Alps. Possums only reached the northern tip of the North Island and south-west Fiordland in the last decade of the 20th century.
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Source: P. E. Cowan, ‘Brushtail possum.’ In The handbook of New Zealand mammals, edited by Carolyn M. King. 2nd ed. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 61