Marsupials stinking to high heaven

by CATHERINE VAN BERGEN, The Age, September 10, 2008

Bendigo, Australia -- BUDDHIST monks at a centre near Bendigo are up against a problem beyond even divine intervention - possums.

<< A monk cleans up yet again after the Bendigo possums. Photo: Andrew De La Rue

Because religious beliefs prevent them trapping or harming the marsupials, the monks at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, in Myers Flat, are using dingo dung to stop the possums gnawing on holy relics and leaving their deposits on the floor.

The Dingo Discovery Centre has offered purebred dingo droppings.

Ian Green, chief executive officer of the Great Stupa, hopes that surrounding the building with droppings will trigger the possums' genetic fear of dingoes and keep them away.

"Every weekend, there's possum poo everywhere," he said. "They cause a lot of damage, so it will be good to see the possums go. If this doesn't work, we will just have to find another solution."

The exhibition building, which has recently been reopened after five years, holds more than 100 holy relics and artefacts collected from various Buddhist traditions.