KI resident fined for bringing rabbit to the island
A Kangaroo Island resident has been convicted and fined $900 for introducing a rabbit to the island.
Kangaroo Island is currently rabbit free, and the movement, sale and ownership of rabbits on KI is prohibited under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (NRM Act).
Concerned community members first raised the alarm, informing the Department for Environment and Water in late 2017.
On investigation the man was found to have a female rabbit on his property; it was removed immediately and rehoused on the mainland.
Under the NRM Act, a penalty of up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 may be imposed for such an offence.
Andrew Triggs, Biosecurity Liaison Officer at Natural Resources Kangaroo Island, said rabbits could have a devastating impact on both the island’s native vegetation and agricultural industries.
“Rabbits could destroy agriculture on KI. Current estimates of the impact of rabbit populations on agriculture across Australia are in excess of $200 million a year,” Mr Triggs said.
“Female rabbits are prolific breeders having a gestation period of only 31 days and having an average litter of 12-13 kittens.
“Feral rabbits eat crops and compete with livestock for pasture and are also a significant contributor to widespread soil erosion.
“KI is home to many endangered plant and animal species. Rabbits pose a significant threat to many native vegetation species and would compete with endangered animal species for food and habitat.
“The Threatened Species Recovery Hub recently released a new study showing that rabbits are Australia’s worst invasive species impacting over 300 threatened species.
“Rabbits destroy plants and can stop them regenerating by eating the seedlings; they compete with native grazing animals for food and can boost the number of predators like cats.”
Protecting Kangaroo Island’s biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility. You can report sightings of rabbits in-person at the Natural Resources Centre on Dauncey Street, Kingscote or by calling 8553 4444.
More information about KI’s biosecurity can be found on the Natural Resources KI website at: www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ki/plants-and-animals/Biosecurity
Photo: Andrew Triggs, Biosecurity Liaison Officer with the seized rabbit in 2017