Ecopossum™ is an exclusive blend of fine Merino wool, luxurious Brushtail possum fibre, silk and sometimes angora. The stunning combination of Merino and Brushtail possum fibre creates featherweight softness and outstanding wearing qualities. Ecopossum™ yarn is unique in that it feels cashmere soft and is incredibly warm, yet it will not pill (rub). This is due to Brushtail possum fibre having a hollow structure and no scales. Air is trapped both within the fibre and in the fabric when blended with high crimp, fine Merino, creating a soft, lightweight, and exceptionally warm garment that has very high performance and durability characteristics. Ecopossum™ garments also wash extremely well.

Ecopossum™ yarn was first developed by Snowy Peak Limited (the parent company of Untouched World™) in 1992, the first new natural fibre to be used in a textile in over 100 years. All garments made from Ecopossum™ carry an assurance of quality from forest to finished garment, and a guarantee of essential fibre selection and processing controls.

The Possum Problem

The Brushtail possum is an animal introduced to New Zealand in 1837 from Australia; it is only found in Australasia, and is not to be confused with the North American Opossum, which is a different animal. The possum is New Zealand’s biggest ecological threat. They are legally classified as pests. In their native Australian environment, possums do not pose a threat, but in New Zealand they have no natural predators.

Why are possums a threat?

  • Possums eat their way through 17,000 tonnes of native vegetation each night, leaving just bare branches
  • The damage is so severe, possums can kill entire forests by defoliation within 20 years
  • With no flowers, berries or nectar left, native bird populations have nothing to eat
  • Possums are omnivores and also consume the eggs and chicks of our endangered native bird species
  • They attack adult birds in the nest in order to reach the chicks and eggs
  • They have contributed significantly towards the registering of several new species of native birds on the endangered list
  • They prey upon our rare native invertebrates such as weta and land snails

Much of the control of possums has been through broadcast toxic chemicals, which New Zealand wants to reduce or eliminate. By utilising Brushtail possum fibre, Untouched World™ is contributing to a reduction in the use of broadcast poisons; and to the effort to protect our native forest and birds.

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