Saturday, November 07, 2009
I was just checking out Rivendell's website and came across this rad hat that they are selling made from 40% New Zealand Possum Wool, 50% Merino and 10% Nylon. Check out the link and read about it. The New Zealand Possum is different from our native opossum and was introduced there years ago. Unfortunately it causes a lot of damage to the native flora and fauna of NZ so people are trying to wipe them out. This is much like the nutria (Myocastor coypus) here in the US which causes much damage by eating up massive amounts of wetland vegitation and pushing the native muskrats out of their territory.
It just so happens that I will be leading a workshop through Trackers NW of Portland this Tues. and Wed. where we will cycle out to a farm in the Portland area where the nutria devour many of the farms crops. Here we will speak with the farmers, do some tracking for the little buggers and then set traps. The following day we will pedal back out early in the morn and check our traps. If we catch some of these big rodents we will ride back with them on our racks and skin and process them at TrackersNW. Participants will learn about the ethics of trapping animals and how to do it responsibly and how to skin, butcher, and tan the hide of a small critter.
I often think about this idea of native and non-native or invasive species. The reality is that the nutria or the NZ possum is not evil, it is just doing what it does best and it is a master of survival because it can prosper and multiply in many environments. However, it brings sadness to me to see the native species be killed off and lose them potentially forever. The reality is that nature has a way of balancing itself out and what I am witnessing is this process. Someday, the nutria may take the place of the muskrat over much of North America and it is silly for us to fight this change. I say we need to embrace these species and realize that they are capable of providing much for us and for others. For example: abundant sources of fur, meat, fat for humans and predatory animals. (Last year while trapping nutria, I came upon a bald eagle feasting on one of the nutria in my traps.) Which brings me back to my excitement about this NZ possum fur hat that Riv is selling. The makers of these hats are making use of an abundant renewable resource, unlike polyester and other plastic fibers made from oil. If life gives you lemons make some fuckin' lemonade my friends!