BIRTH-control hormones could be implanted in Melbourne's possums to curb spiralling numbers of the ''destructive, costly, dirty pests''.
A motion was moved at the Liberal state council in Ballarat yesterday that calls on the state government to investigate humane methods to control possums in residential areas.
''Possums are destructive, costly, dirty pests in suburbia,'' the Albert Park and South Melbourne branch said in the motion. ''The numbers seem to be out of control and the listed deterrents appear to have little lasting effect.''
''Culling has been adopted elsewhere as being the best solution. We suggest that contraception be investigated as another approach for managing these wildlife pests for those concerned with animal welfare issues.''
Animal Active campaign director Rheya Linden said the Liberals had demonised possums and moves to investigate sterilising the native animals were ''ridiculous''.
''The birth control thing is flavour of the month and it will not have any long-term outcome. The process of capturing a possum, implanting hormones and repeating that process for 14 years until the animal dies is incredibly stressful.''
She said possums were territorial creatures and when one group was depleted through birth control, another group simply moved in.
In July, the City of Yarra introduced a bylaw that banned people from feeding the marsupials in Carlton North's Curtain Square park. The inner-city council has also announced a trial of a fertility control program for possums in the Carlton North park. It said the program would revive the park's heritage trees and most likely involve hormonal implants.