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Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Operation Possum

A community-based study of possums in South Australia.

Operation Possum

Operation Possum was a large-scale, community-based study of possums in South Australia. In 2008, Operation Possum collected data about possum species, how people manage possums, and participants’ attitudes towards possums, with a total of 2,234 online surveys completed from 462 different suburbs and towns.

The conservation of wildlife living close to people can be complex, especially when the species behaves in ways that disturb or distress people, as possums certainly do. However, we found that a general admiration of possums, with a caveat regarding their less desirable behaviours, defined the relationship with these adorable yet troublesome marsupials: the paradox of the possum.

Results from this project, including information about possums, stories submitted by participants, management strategies (and their effectiveness), and an introduction to Citizen Science, have been published as a book - The Possum-Tail Tree: Understanding Possums through Citizen Science.

Operation Possum was preceded by Operation Bluetongue (2007), and followed by Operation Magpie (2009) and Operation Spider (2010).



Topic – mammal, marsupial, possum, management, attitudes

Audience - general audience, schools

Location - South Australia

Goals - conservation, education, sustainability



Barbara Hardy Centre, University of South Australia

891 ABC Adelaide

Department of Environment and Natural Resources



Philip Roetman, Researcher  email Philip

Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research... this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.

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