Joining forces to tackle rabbit boom
This year there has been an unprecedented surge in rabbit numbers, and the prevailing moist conditions during summer are only exacerbating the situation.
In response, Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu is teaming up with the region's six local councils to execute strategic releases of RHDV K5 Calicivirus-innoculated carrots at identified sites on council land.
Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu Senior Stewardship Officer Dana Miles said that 20 sites in Mount Barker District Council alone have been strategically chosen based on community input and the need to safeguard native vegetation.
“These include multiple locations throughout Laratinga Wetlands, Mount Barker Cemetery, Waterford Estate, Martindale Estate, Parkview Drive, Wellow Drive, Springs Rd, Atlantic Drive, Mount Barker Summit, Coppins Bush, Anembo Park, and Harrogate Cemetery,” Ms Miles said.
“To ensure the success of this initiative, it is crucial for the public to refrain from disturbing carrot trails at these identified sites. Council staff are currently free-feeding with carrots in preparation for the virus release scheduled for early February.
“It is essential to note that RHDV K5 Calicivirus affects rabbits exclusively, posing no threat to dogs, possums, birds, or humans, making it a safe control option in residential areas. Pet rabbit owners are strongly advised to vaccinate their pets,” she said.
“The collaborative approach with the region's six local councils to manage the rabbit population demonstrates great commitment to working in partnership with residents and the Landscape Board to achieve long-term reduction of rabbits in the region.”
For private landholders, Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu is running bait distribution events during February (almost booked out) and March to enable baiting across multiple sites at the same time.
The February events (offering K5 Calicivirus and pindone-treated carrots) have been very popular and are almost booked out and close on 31 January. Bookings for the March events are now open, offering pindone-treated carrots at a discounted price. Pindone is suitable for properties larger than 1000 square metres. It is important to undertake at least two free (unbaited) feeds with carrots leading up to purchasing baited carrots. This will help to maximise uptake of the baited carrots.
Distribution events will be held at Lobethal, Heathfield, Mount Barker, Strathalbyn, Goolwa, and McLaren Flat.
Registration is essential – register here.
“For those unsure about the most suitable control options for their property, Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu Stewardship Officers can help landholders make informed decisions. The Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu website also has excellent videos and fact sheets explaining all aspects of baiting and rabbit control.”
Ms Miles said landholders will be most successful controlling rabbits if they work together with their neighbours, and also fumigate/destroy warrens and clean up rabbit shelters.
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