Comic: Smelly predator science

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Illustrator Andrew James explains this study on predator emitted volatile organic compounds from Scion.

Possum butts smell garlicy. Why should you care?
Introduced predators are fragrant critters -their bodies are covered in glands that emit scents.

The garlicy possum smell comes from a complex blend of volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

Researchers at Scion have catalogued what specific VOCs make up these smells for introduced predators.
This is important for the predator free movement because these possum pongs, stoat stinks and weasel whiffs carry important information.

About predator numbers, behaviour and reproduction.
This information is currently labour-intensive and time-consuming to gather.

With old school tools like tracking tunnels, and new things like eDNA and AI cameras. They all take time.
A real-time predator tracking system would make life easier for field operators. A bio-sensing drone is a dream for rangers tracking the elusive last predator. And with this smelly science, we're one step closer to making that dream a reality, keeping us on the path to a predator free New Zealand.