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POSSUM - AN ETHICAL FUR CHOICE?


Native to Australia, where they are now protected, brush-tailed possums were first introduced to New Zealand in 1837 to jump-start the Possum fur trade. Possums gained a permanent foothold here by 1858. Finding abundant food and no natural predators, they have never looked back.

Today possums occupy nearly 99 percent of the country, according to Christophers, and are poised to “take a stranglehold” on the last possum-free scrap of land in New Zealand, the area of Fiordland. New Zealand’s environment is defenseless against invasive animals like possums, stoats, and rats, because it evolved in isolation over the last 65 million years. Most people can appreciate that Possums are not just being farmed for their fur and that the sale of Possum fur goods is helping control a national pest in New Zealand.

Possum fur has very fine, hollow fibers which add to its insulation properties. Polar bears have a similar fur demonstrating how effective a hollow fibre is at warmth retention against the cold. Being a natural fibre Possum fur also absorbs moisture well, drawing it away from the body into the center of the fiber.

These unique Possum fur characteristics mean that it can’t freeze and make it extremely warm. The hollow fibre doesn’t just mean that Possum fur is a good insulator, it also means it is amazingly lightweight. When used to create Possum Merino knitwear the combination of Possum in the fabric leads to very lightweight garments. According to some sources possum fur is 8% warmer and 14% lighter than wool. These amazing characteristics have lead to a boom in the sale of Possum fur products in recent times.

Not only is possum fur incredibly soft, is also has therapeutic benefits. Research shows an enzyme in the fibres can help prevent skin conditions like eczema. And because it is a 100% natural product there are no chemicals coming into contact with your skin, unlike when you wear man-made products.